US military veterans and their families on Thursday called on the Biden administration not to release frozen funds to Iran as part of nuclear negotiations until US victims of terrorist attacks carried out by the regime are compensated. Tehran or its representatives.
More than 1,000 veterans and family members of people killed or wounded in bombings and other attacks in Iraq and elsewhere have asked President Joe Biden in a letter to meet with some of the families whose loved ones were killed.
“We share your view that Iran should never be allowed to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, but we do not believe that any sanctions against Iran that result in the release of frozen funds should be lifted or suspended until all pending lawsuits and pending claims against Iran and the IRGC are fully satisfied,” says the letter, which was obtained by NBC News. The IGRC is the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“In our view, Iran’s frozen funds should first go to the American victims of the regime before a single dollar goes to the regime itself,” the letter said.
The letter estimated that $60 billion in terrorism trial judgments and associated liens have gone unpaid due to US court cases against Iran, with billions more tied up in pending claims.
US officials have said that Iranian-backed militias killed hundreds of US soldiers in the Iraq war. Iran has denied any role in the attacks.
The United States and European powers reported modest progress in talks with Iran in Vienna on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal, which was designed to prevent Tehran from building nuclear weapons.
Throughout the talks, Iran has demanded that the US unlock billions of dollars worldwide that have been frozen by US sanctions.
The 2015 deal eased sanctions against Tehran in exchange for strict limits on its nuclear program, including restrictions on enriching uranium and using advanced centrifuges. When the agreement was signed, the United States unblocked some Iranian assets.
President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the accord in 2018, reimposing economic sanctions on Iran and adding new measures. As a result of the reimposed sanctions, Iran is unable to access foreign assets, including proceeds from some oil sales and other transactions.
The Treasury Department said this month that it would allow South Korea to send at least $63 million in back damages to an Iranian company. US sanctions have blocked the money and Iran has been seeking access to billions of dollars frozen in South Korea and other countries.
The move followed talks between South Korea’s Vice Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and US Special Envoy for Iran Robert Malley. Iran says the United States has blocked some $7 billion in South Korea related to oil shipments.
Since the United States left the 2015 deal, Iran has violated its limits on its nuclear activities and blocked access by UN nuclear inspectors.
Biden administration officials say time is running out for a deal to salvage the deal.