Iran has spent $16 billion on “militias” to prop up the Assad regime in Syria and surrounding regions, U.S. Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook told Saudi-owned Al Arabiya TV on Thursday.
Hook did not specify the time period Iran spent that $16 billion in the interview, according to The Times of Israel, but one report by the State Department from December 2018 shows that it could have begun in 2012.
Washington will continue imposing sanctions on Tehran, noting that they were a result of “destabilizing behavior in the region,” Hook confirmed in the interview.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote in a letter in the report that it “is important for the world to know that Iran trained and deployed Shia fighters from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan to help Assad crack down on innocent civilians in Syria.”
The report goes on to state that “Iran also provides up to $100 million annually in combined support to Palestinian terrorist groups, including Hamas, PIJ, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command. These terrorist groups have been behind a number of deadly attacks originating from Gaza, the West Bank, Syria and Lebanon, including attacks against Israeli civilians, Egyptian security forces in the Sinai Peninsula, and American citizens.”
Recently, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the construction of state-of-the-art weaponry for the country’s paramilitary fighting force, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
“Today, the IRGC is dignified both inside and outside the country, thanks be to god. The enemies have contributed to creating this dignity,” Khamenei said. “With violent, aggressive, and hostile behavior, the Americans increased the dignity of the IRGC. The enemies of god show hostility to God’s servants, and this hostility makes God’s servants more reputable and estimable.”
“You must have all necessary defense, operational and intelligence equipment. However, these instruments must be manufactured and developed at home and meet all the needs of the country on the ground, in the sky and space as well as at sea and borders. Even the cyberspace is among the necessary instruments,” he also said.
Additionally, Israeli leaders claimed that Iran secretly built a nuclear weapons site, saying “they destroyed the site when they realized we discovered it.”
“Israel has exposed another Iranian violation of their international commitments: the Abadeh Nuclear Weapons Development Site,” Israeli embassy spokesman Elad Strohmayer wrote in a series of tweets. “We have proof that #Iran conducted experiments to develop nuclear weapons there.”
Iran is frequently accused of attempting to obtain or develop a nuclear weapon, and officials in Israel, which currently has anywhere from 80 to 400 nuclear weapons, fear the hostile nation is close to doing so.
Iran recently increased its stockpile of heavy water, which is used at its nuclear reactor in Arak, above 130 tonnes, which is above the limit established in a previous nuclear agreement, and increased its reserve of enriched uranium above 300 kilograms, which is also above agreed limits.