Some money from Iran's sanctions relief is likely to go to terrorists, Secretary of State John KerryJohn KerryOvernight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — EPA finalizing rule cutting HFCs Overnight Energy & Environment — Presented by the League of Conservation Voters — Senate Finance chair backs budget action on fossil fuel subsidies Kerry: 'We can't get where we need to go' in climate fight if China isn't joining in MORE acknowledged Thursday.
Still, he said, he has yet to see that happen, adding there will be consequences if Iran uses the money to fund terrorism.
“I think that some of it will end up in the hands of the IRGC or other entities, some of which are labeled terrorists,” he said in an interview with CNBC, referring to the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Over the weekend, the United States lifted sanctions related to Iran’s nuclear program after it certified Tehran was in compliance with the nuclear agreement.
Lawmakers opposed to the deal have argued that the billions of dollars Iran gets after sanctions are lifted will be funneled into supporting terrorist organizations.
In an interview from the World Economic Forum in Switzerland, Kerry conceded the United States can’t prevent that from happening.
“You know, to some degree, I'm not going to sit here and tell you that every component of that can be prevented,” he said. “But I can tell you this: Right now, we are not seeing the early delivery of funds going to that kind of endeavor at this point in time."
Of the $100 billion to $150 billion in sanctions relief, Kerry estimated Iran would end up with $55 million because some of the money is obligated to foreign debts.
He later told a group of reporters on the sidelines of the forum that the Revolutionary Guards are "already complaining that they are not getting the money,” according to The Associated Press.
“If we catch them funding terrorism, they're going to have a problem in the U.S. Congress and other people, obviously," he said.
A group of Republican senators vowed Thursday to introduce new sanctions should the administration not take a tough stance against the country.
They also derided Kerry's remarks.
"Talk about stating the obvious," said Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) "I mean, come on. I mean, this is something we've all known from the beginning."
Added Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.): "Secretary Kerry announced to the world that it's 'likely' that Iran will use some of this money to support terrorists. Secretary Kerry, it is certain that they will use this money to support terrorism. You might as well have written the check to Assad yourself. You might as well have funded Hezbollah yourself."
-- Jordain Carney contributed to this report
-- Updated at 3:54 p.m.