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The Obama administration is declining to inform Congress about the number of American citizens and troops killed by Iran and its terror proxies, according to a document provided to Congress and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
The administration was repeatedly asked by Congress to release figures describing how many Americans and Israelis have been killed by Iran’s military and terror activities since the country’s 1979 revolution.
In a series of on-the-record responses obtained exclusively by the Free Beacon, and provided in written form to Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), Kerry sidestepped the questions on all of the three separate occasions he was asked to provide the figures.
The questions come as the United States prepares to unfreeze more than $100 billion in Iranian assets under the terms of the recently inked nuclear deal. Experts fear the Islamic Republic will funnel the cash windfall into its rogue terror operations and proxy groups.
Lawmakers and experts also have expressed concern about portions of the deal that will lift international sanctions on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), as well as Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s financial empire.
In the list of questions submitted to Kerry, Rubio asks: “How many U.S. citizens have been killed by Iran, including by Iran’s terrorist proxies, since 1979?”
The secretary of state declined to provide an answer, instead saying that the administration takes the murder of American citizens “very seriously.”
“The death of any U.S. citizen due to acts of terrorism is a tragedy that we take very seriously,” Kerry writes. “As the President said in his Aug. 5 speech, a nuclear-armed Iran is a danger to Israel, America and the world.”
“The central goal of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] is to eliminate the imminent threat of a nuclear-armed Iran,” Kerry continued.
When asked a second time by Rubio to specify “How many U.S. troops and soldiers were killed by Iranian-provided weapons or by Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Kerry said, again sidestepping the question.
“We are extraordinarily grateful for the service of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, and we mourn the loss of every service member,” Kerry writes. “The JCPOA is not about a change in the broader U.S. relationship with Iran. It is about eliminating the biggest and most imminent threat—a nuclear-armed Iran.”
When separately asked to detail “how many Israelis have been killed by Iran, including by Iran’s terrorist proxies since 1979,” Kerry again declined to respond.
“The central goal of the JCPOA is to eliminate the imminent threat that Iran will acquire a nuclear weapon,” Kerry said. “But the JCPOA cannot erase decades of Iranian anti-American and anti-Israeli rhetoric and actions.”
A State Department official told the Free Beacon that no further information on these questions could be provided beyond what Kerry wrote.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R., Texas) told the Free Beacon that the administration’s reluctance to provide information about Iran’s efforts to kill Americans is “unconscionable.”
“It is a fact that Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and that they have killed and maimed thousands of upstanding military men and women at the hands of sheer hate,” said Gohmert, who has been a vocal critic of the Iran deal.
“It is unconscionable that the Obama administration is refusing to answer questions on just how many Americans have been killed or maimed by Iran,” the lawmaker said. “One thing we know— Iran says they will continue their efforts to destroy the United States and its people so one hundred billion dollars will allow Iran to kill and maim multiples of the numbers of Americans they already have killed and maimed, making the Obama administration knowing accessories.”
Michael Pregent, director of the advocacy organization Veterans Against the Deal, called it shocking that the administration would not release these figures.
“We find it absurd that the Obama administration and the State Department would deny information on Iran’s direct role in the deaths of Americans in Iraq from sitting U.S. senators,” said Pregent, whose organization has released several ads highlighting Iran’s terror operations against U.S. soldiers.
“For the State Department to protect Iran by keeping information detrimental to Iran’s Quds force and [IRGC Leader] Qasem Soleimani from the American people is an affront to veterans affected by this enemy and service members currently in harms way in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Pregent said.
Recent estimates by U.S. intelligence officials put the number of American soldiers killed by Iran in Iraq and Afghanistan at around 500.
The issue of Iran’s terror funding has emerged as a key concern among critics of the nuclear accord.
A Free Beacon report revealed that Iran has been spending billions of dollars to pay the salaries of terrorists.
This includes potentially millions of dollars in monthly payments to pro-government forces in Syria, more than $1 billion in military aid to fighters in Iraq, and about $20 million annually to Hamas terrorists, according to a private report commissioned by Sen. Mark Kirk (R., Ill.).
The report was assembled following a request by Kirk for the Obama administration to disclose its estimates of “Iranian military spending, as well as Iranian assistance to Houthi rebels in Yemen, Shiite militias in Iraq, the Assad government, Hezbollah, and Hamas,” according to a copy of that report.
Kerry additionally discloses in his responses to Rubio that Iran is permitted to test fire ballistic missiles under the nuclear accord.
“It would not be a violation of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] if Iran tested a conventional ballistic missile,” Kerry disclosed in the document.