Iran unlikely to spend most of its post-sanctions funds on militants, CIA says

The Los Angeles Times reports: A secret U.S. intelligence assessment predicts that Iran’s government will pump most of an expected $100-billion windfall from the lifting of international sanctions into the country’s flagging economy and won’t significantly boost funding for militant groups it supports in the Middle East.

Intelligence analysts concluded that even if Tehran increased support for Hezbollah commanders in Lebanon, Houthi rebels in Yemen or President Bashar Assad’s embattled government in Syria, the extra cash is unlikely to tip the balance of power in the world’s most volatile region, according to two U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the intelligence document.

The controversial CIA report, on which key members of Congress have been briefed, provides ammunition to both sides in the battle brewing on Capitol Hill over what White House aides call President Obama’s signature foreign policy achievement, a sweeping multinational agreement that aims to block Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons for at least a decade in exchange for the easing of sanctions that have hobbled its economy. [Continue reading…]

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