Iran Claims Receipt of $100 Billion in Sanctions Relief, Nearly Double Kerry’s Estimate

Iran announced that it now has access to more than $100 billion in previously frozen assets due to sanctions relief granted by the nuclear deal, The Washington Post reported on Monday. The sum claimed by Tehran is nearly twice the estimate given last month by Secretary of State John Kerry, who said that Iran would have access to about $55 billion. At the time, Kerry acknowledged that some of the funds would likely be used to support terrorist groups.

Tehran also revealed that it had been accepted into the international banking network SWIFT, which according to the Post will “be a major boost for foreign firms seeking to return to the Iranian market.”

The announced windfall comes on the heels of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Italy and France, where he laid the groundwork for some $30 billion in business deals last week.

The disparity between Kerry’s estimate and Iran’s claim prompted an odd explanation from Marie Harf, Kerry’s senior advisor for strategic communications.

In September, Iran boosted its funding of the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah in anticipation of the windfall it would receive through sanctions relief. The move came after leaders of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps met with officials from both terrorist organizations in July.

That month, a week after receiving a $1 billion line of credit from Iran, Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad hailed the nuclear deal as a “great victory.”

[Photo: UNVIE U.S. Mission To International Organizations in Vienna / Flickr ]