The Obama administration is concerned that Iran will increase backing for terrorism and other disruptive activities in the wake of the nuclear deal, Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz said in an address to American Jews.
At the same time, Moniz, a key figure in the negotiations with Iran, touted the pact as “the famous better deal,” rebuffing criticism from some corners of the US and in Israel that a more robust agreement can still be negotiated.
“We are concerned about some possible escalation in their support for terrorism, meddling in the region in terms of stability,” Moniz said Thursday in a webcast organized by the Jewish Federations of North America and the Jewish Council for Public Affairs. “Obviously Hezbollah terrorism is an example.”
Obama administration officials have acknowledged under congressional questioning that part of the at least $56 billion that will be freed up in the sanctions relief for nuclear restrictions deal reached last month between Iran and six major powers could be directed toward Iranian disruptive activity.
But the concern expressed by Moniz, a top negotiator at the talks, was unusual in that, unprompted, he said directly that the administration anticipates an increase in terrorist activity. He also said the regime’s rhetoric on Jews and Israel was a concern.
“We find extremely bothersome to put it mildly the strong anti-Israel, anti-Semitic rhetoric coming out of Iran,” he said.
Moniz also cited the prospect of increased Iranian disruption in Syria and Yemen.
The energy secretary told listeners that the agreement reached with Iran in July will enable the US to focus on “other aspects of Iranian behavior that give us serious problems,” such as its state sponsorship of terror and regional destabilization, as well as its continued detention of four American citizens.
Addressing these issues “with the comfort that Iran does not have and will not have a nuclear weapon — the existential threat of a nuclear weapon — will, if anything, give us more freedom of action,” he said.
Source: Times of Israel