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Energy Department hasn't explained why U.S. grant went to Iranian professor at sanctioned school

"I’m not familiar with this grant," Granholm said at a Senate hearing last week

Published: April 23, 2024 11:12am

Updated: April 24, 2024 10:39am

The Energy Department has yet to provide an explanation for sending U.S. grant money to an Iranian professor at a sanctioned Iranian school.

A grant from the department's Solar Energy Technologies Office, includes Mohammed Hasan Ravanji, a professor at the Sharif University of Technology, as one of its authors. The U.S. sanctioned the school as an entity that has helped the Iranian regime with its nuclear program.

Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm was pressed about the grant at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing last week.

"I’m not familiar with this grant," Granholm said, adding that she would follow-up with the committee.

Committee member Sen. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, called on the U.S. government to ensure that U.S. taxpayer dollars do not end up in the hands of sanctioned entities. 

“No matter how those grants are distributed, as Iran builds up their nuclear arsenal, we must be absolutely certain that taxpayer dollars are not funding a researcher working for a university linked to Iran’s nuclear program,” Ernst said. “We just witnessed Iran attack our ally Israel and their proxies have taken American servicemembers’ lives…[Their] capabilities cannot even be remotely strengthened by American taxpayer dollars.”

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