Iraqi official suspected of having links to Iranian terrorism proxies should visit the United States

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An Iraqi official with alleged ties to the Iranian regime and its terrorist proxies traveled to the United States this week for high-level meetings amid a global energy crisis that has sent oil prices soaring.

Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail, Iraq’s oil minister and acting finance minister, is listed as an official Iraqi government attendee at World Bank meetings scheduled for Washington, DC, according to a list of attendees published by the organization. He is also expected to hold meetings with Biden administration officials, according to sources familiar with the matter. A coalition of Republican lawmakers wants to know why the Biden administration is ‘rolling[ing] the red carpet” for Ismail and how he was able to get a US visa.

Three Republican foreign policy leaders in Congress are pressuring the Biden administration to reconsider its engagement with Ismail, citing his alleged ties to Iran’s terror regime and the country’s efforts to evade US economic sanctions.

Under Ismail’s leadership, the Iraqi National Petroleum Marketing Organization “has a history of doing business with Iran, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and Iran-backed terrorist organizations. Iran Asa’ib ahl al-Haq and Katai’b Hezbollah,” the representative said. Jim Banks (R., Ind.), Mike Waltz (R., Fla.) and Joe Wilson (R., SC) wrote to the White House on Wednesday, according to a copy of the letter obtained by the Free Washington Beacon. Lawmakers say it is inappropriate for the United States to host an official suspected of furthering the Iranian regime’s global terrorist enterprise, especially amid mass protests in Iran that threaten to overthrow the hardline government.

“Joe Biden has publicly criticized Italy’s new conservative prime minister, but his administration is happy to roll out the red carpet for criminally corrupt officials with ties to Iranian terrorists,” said Banks, head of the Republican Review Committee, the largest Republican caucus in Congress. Free tag. “There’s no low the Biden administration won’t stoop to for its disastrous Iran deal and avoid investing in American energy.”

A State Department spokesperson would not comment on Ismail’s visa status or the issue raised by members of Congress, telling the Free tag, “We cannot discuss the details of individual visa cases.” In general, the spokesperson said, “each time an individual applies for a U.S. visa, a consular officer reviews the facts of the case and determines whether the applicant is eligible for that visa based on U.S. law.” .

Ismail has been a controversial figure in Iraqi politics due to allegations that he is complicit in the Iranian regime’s efforts to circumvent US sanctions on its crude oil trade, which has brought in billions of dollars in revenue for the extremist regime of Tehran and allowed it to finance regional terrorist groups.

“The Minister of Petroleum is also known to have facilitated illegal oil exports on behalf of Iran,” the lawmakers write, citing information from the United Against Nuclear Iran watchdog group that the Iraqi National Petroleum Marketing Organization helped Tehran offload its heavily sanctioned crude as part of a ploy to evade US sanctions.

Ismail is also “suspected of large-scale corruption for accepting bribes for awarding oil contracts and operations in Iraq”, according to the lawmakers. Iraq’s al-Karkh Investigative Court has already charged Ismail with 29 corruption cases and he is also ‘suspected of accepting bribes from the IRGC’s Quds Force (IRGC-QF) and companies international oil companies”.

Given the cloud of controversy surrounding Ismail, Republican lawmakers want to know why the Biden administration would grant him a visa and allow him to attend high-level meetings with U.S. officials.

“At a time when brave Iranian women are standing up for their freedom against a ruthless regime, the Biden administration granting a visa to someone who has a long-standing relationship with several Iranian-backed foreign terrorist groups sends a terrible message to the rest. . of the world,” Waltz told the Free tag. “The Biden administration must isolate proxies from the Iranian regime, not embrace them out of indifference to their corruption and extensive ties to US-designated terrorist groups.”

Ismail, Waltz said, should be disciplined for these links, “not engaging in official government business in the United States.”

Lawmakers are asking the White House to provide them with information on who granted Ismail a US visa and on what basis.

“Do you know that this individual was instrumental in leading the Iraqi Ministry of Petroleum and its sub-entities to implement the decision of the Iraqi Federal Supreme Court which was ordered by the Revolutionary Guard Corps Islamic-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) to dismantle the Kurdistan Region’s oil exports, and thus its economy and its ability to serve as a bulwark for Iranian regional terrorism?” they write.

“Are you aware that he and a number of Iraqi officials are suspected of systemic corruption, largely through Iraqi state oil operations, and business dealings with existing designated terrorist groups, and facilitating the illicit export of Iranian oil and petroleum products?”

They also want to know if the Biden administration determined whether Ismail engaged in “significant transactions with designated foreign terrorist groups.” If such assessments were made, Ismail may not be eligible to receive a US visa, lawmakers say.

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