US military veterans and their families on Thursday urged the Biden administration not to release funds frozen in nuclear talks to Iran until US victims of the regime’s terrorist attacks on Tehran or its proxies are compensated.
More than 1,000 veterans and family members of those killed or injured in bombings and other attacks in Iraq and elsewhere have written to President Joe Biden asking him to meet with some of the families of those killed.
“We share your view that Iran should never be allowed to develop or acquire nuclear weapons, but we do not believe that sanctions against Iran should be lifted or suspended, which would result in funds being frozen being released pending all outstanding judgments and pending lawsuits against Iran and the IRGC were perfectly content,” the letter, seen by NBC News, reads. the Iranian revolution.
“In our view, Iran’s frozen funds should go First to the American victims of the regime before a single dollar goes to the regime itself,” the letter reads.
The letter estimated that $60 billion in terrorism-related judgments and related liens had not been paid as a result of US lawsuits against Iran, with billions more related to pending lawsuits.
US officials have said Iran-backed militias have killed hundreds of US troops in the Iraq war. Iran has denied any role in the attacks.
US and European powers have reported modest progress in talks with Iran in Vienna on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal aimed at barring Tehran from building nuclear weapons.
During the talks, Iran has urged the United States to release billions of dollars worldwide that have been frozen by US sanctions.
The 2015 deal eased sanctions on Tehran in exchange for severe restrictions on its nuclear program, including restrictions on uranium enrichment and the use of advanced centrifuges. When the deal was signed, the United States released some Iranian assets.
President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, reinstated economic sanctions on Iran, and added new measures. As a result of the re-imposed sanctions, Iran has been denied access to foreign assets, including proceeds from some oil sales and other transactions.
The Treasury Department said this month it would allow South Korea to pay at least $63 million in overdue damages to an Iranian company. US sanctions had blocked the money, and Iran was seeking access to billions of dollars frozen in South Korea and other countries.
The move follows talks between South Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Choi Jong-kun and US special envoy to Iran Robert Malley. Iran says the United States has blocked about $7 billion in South Korea related to oil shipments.
Since the United States left the 2015 accord, Iran has violated the limits of its nuclear activities and blocked access for UN nuclear inspectors.
Biden administration officials say time is running out to reach a deal to salvage the deal.