Candidates in Georgia’s 6th Congressional District race Republican Karen Handel, left, and Democrat Jon Ossoff prepare to debate Tuesday, June 6, 2017, in Atlanta. The two meet in a June 20 special election.(Branden Camp/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)
Photo: Branden Camp
Photo: Branden Camp

PolitiFact: Handel overstates U.S. money in Iran aiding terrorists

Karen Handel said in the debate Tuesday night that in the Barack Obama-era deal with Iran, “Nearly $2 billion in cash was flown over to Iran, money that the Obama administration has admitted is being used for terrorists and to support further activities there.”

Handel’s staff pointed to a March 17, 2016, letter from the State Department saying Iran had received about $1.7 billion as part of the nuclear agreement, reimbursement for U.S. military equipment Iran had paid for but that was never delivered after the 1979 Iranian revolution.

In August 2016, many news organizations reported the delivery of $400 million in cash, in an unmarked cargo plane after American officials were certain that three Americans held in Iran were on their way home.

It is not known how the remaining $1.3 billion made its way to Iran.

Former Secretary of State John Kerry said in a January 2016 interview: “I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps) or of other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists. To some degree, I’m not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented.”

The IRGC, Iran’s premier security institution, fields an army, navy and air force. In 2007, the U.S. Treasury Department designated the IRGC’s elite Quds Force a terrorist supporter for aiding the Taliban and other terrorist organizations.

So, Kerry was saying some of the money ultimately would end up with organizations involved in terrorism.

That’s not quite the same as saying all of the money would go for terrorists and activities to support terrorism as Handel said.

Kerry did tell reporters the same day, according to the Associated Press, that he understands the IRGC is “already complaining that they are not getting the money.”

Our ruling

Handel said the Obama administration admitted that nearly $2 billion flown to Iran is being used to fund terrorism and various supporting activities. One way or another, the United States transferred $1.7 billion owed to Iran. Kerry said it was likely some portion of any money Iran received would go to its top security organization and some of that money would end up advancing terrorism.

Beyond that general statement, details are lacking.

We rate this claim Half True.

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