By: Nick Pope, Daily Caller News Foundation
The Chinese Communist Party (CCP) appears to be indirectly bankrolling Hamas, Hezbollah and other terrorist proxies of the Iranian regime, numerous energy and foreign policy experts told the Daily Caller News Foundation.
Iran has seen its oil revenues jump by about 1 million barrels per day since the Biden administration came to power in 2021 despite the comprehensive U.S. sanctions package in place designed to inhibit Iran’s oil revenues, while China’s oil purchases have increased significantly in 2023 relative to the year prior, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. These revenues, which Iran appears to be reaping in violation of the sanctions, can then go toward funding Tehran’s network of terrorist proxy groups across the Middle East, including Hamas, which is now engaged in open warfare with America’s closest Middle Eastern ally, Israel, foreign policy and energy experts told the DCNF.
“United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) estimates that Iran has generated around $80 billion in revenue from oil sales defying U.S. sanctions under the Biden administration because of lax enforcement,” Jason Brodsky, UANI’s policy director, told the DCNF. “That is a policy choice by the Biden administration … inevitably, this resources Tehran’s proxies and partners, and therefore China helps fund this aggression.”
Analysts for Kpler, a data intelligence firm, stated in August that China was purchasing about 1.5 million barrels per day of sanctioned Iranian oil, according to Bloomberg News. Those figures represented the greatest flows of imported Iranian oil to China in at least a decade, and overall Iranian oil sales are rebounding as the Biden administration has adopted a more conciliatory approach to dealing with Iran than the Trump administration
“We have suggested that this recent surge in Iranian crude and condensate export volumes could be ascribed to rapprochement between Washington and Tehran via discretionary enforcement of U.S. sanctions,” analysts at ClearView Energy Partners recently told S&P Global Commodity Insights.
The main appeal to Chinese businesses for importing Iranian oil is that it is selling at a discount because of the sanctions against it, according to Bloomberg. This appeal is only made stronger by elevated oil prices worldwide.
The Iranian government interacts with its terrorist proxies through the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), which is itself a State Department-designated terrorist organization.
“The facts are indisputable, China is the principal customer of Iranian oil. It’s in contravention to sanctions we are enforcing,” Robert Greenway, director of the Heritage Foundation’s Center for National Defense and an architect of the Trump administration’s Iran sanctions while serving as the senior director of the National Security Council’s Middle Eastern and North African Affairs Directorate, told the DCNF. “I have studied the IRGC people for 35 years, I have fought them, I have seen every bit of U.S. intelligence produced over the last 35 years pertaining to them—I can tell you that the IRGC benefits directly from oil sales in about ten different ways.”
The notion that the Biden administration is not enforcing sanctions against Iran is false, a spokesperson for the National Security Council (NSC) told the DCNF. The Biden Administration has administered 47 separate Iran sanctions roll-outs targeting 465 individuals and entities, the extensive diplomatic campaign to ensure that Iran is unable to sell oil to new purchasers has been a complete success and there are no plans to lift, waive, or provide any new sanctions relief for Iran, the spokesperson added.
There have been conflicting reports regarding Iran’s level of involvement in the Hamas attacks against Israel, which resulted in at least 1,200 murders, a number of rapes, the decapitation of children and numerous abductions. While The Wall Street Journal has reported that Iranian personnel supported and assisted the attacks, the White House has stated that it has not yet identified any evidence that proves Iranian involvement.
“Without getting into specifics, I can tell you that we are constantly reviewing our regime sanctions against Iran,” NSC spokesman John Kirby told reporters on Thursday. The U.S. government has long designated Iran as the world’s “leading state sponsor of terror.”
As it has in diplomatic efforts with Iran, the Biden administration also appears to be taking a more amenable approach to its dealings with the CCP than the Trump administration, particularly with respect to finding common ground on policies relating to climate change, according to Reuters.
“There is no appetite to sanction China or to enforce sanctions on Iran” within the Biden administration, Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor for the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and former director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction for the NSC during the Trump administration, told the DCNF. “The idea that Kirby can say with a straight face that we are enforcing our sanctions, it is simply not true, not rational and not possible.”
“We are not doing any sanctions enforcement right now, quite intentionally, because it is part of the give to Iran to entice them to stop short of developing a nuclear weapon,” Goldberg continued, referencing reports that some members within or closely connected to the Biden administration were engaging in negotiations with Iranian officials to rekindle some version of the scrapped 2015 Iran nuclear deal. “The Iranians think they have the White House where they want them.”
The White House and the Treasury Department did not respond immediately to requests for comment.
Related Story: Iran to Join Shanghai Cooperation with China, Russia Soon