The Obama administration repeatedly lied to Congress about whether Iran would be able to access the U.S. financial system as Obama officials completed, and the Senate vote on, a nuclear with the rogue nation.
According to the report, released Wednesday by Republicans on the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, Iran was desperate to access billions of dollars stored abroad. The most efficient way to do this was to use the U.S. banking system in order to convert the funds into Euros. But it had been barred as part of sanctions regime from using U.S. banks, even under the Iran deal.
Both before and after the deal was signed and voted on by Senate, the Obama administration assured Congress that Iran would not be able to access U.S. banks. But not only did it allow Iran to do so, it encouraged U.S. banks to complete transactions for Iran. The banks refused, however.
From the report:
As the United States negotiated with Iran, one important U.S. interest consistently remained off-limits: Iran would not be granted access to either the U.S. financial system or the U.S. dollar.
Senior U.S. government officials repeatedly testified to Congress that Iranian access to the U.S. financial system was not on the table or part of any deal. This notwithstanding, the U.S. Department of the Treasury, at the direction of the U.S. State Department, granted a specific license that authorized a conversion of Iranian assets worth billions of U.S. dollars using the U.S. financial system. Even after the specific license was issued, U.S. government officials maintained in congressional testimony that Iran would not be granted access to the U.S. financial system.
For example, in July 2015, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that, under the JCPOA, Iran “will continue to be denied access to the [U.S.’s] financial and commercial market.”
The Senate disapproved the deal in September 2015, but not by enough votes to sink it. Six months later, the Obama administration was still lying about it.
From the report:
In March 2016, Senators Marco Rubio and Mark Kirk wrote to the Treasury Department to seek clarity on “new reports suggesting the Administration is working to give Iran access to the U.S. financial system or to dollar transactions outside of the U.S. financial system.” The Treasury Department responded in June 2016:
“To be clear, the U.S. Department of Treasury is not working on behalf of Iran to enable Iranian access to U.S. dollars elsewhere in the international financial system, nor are we assisting Iran in gaining access to dollar payment systems outside the U.S. financial system. The Administration has not been and is not planning to grant Iran access to the U.S. financial system.”
Just three months earlier, the same agency issued a specific license for Iran to access to the U.S. financial system and the U.S. dollar.
Iran eventually found other ways to convert its money to Euros so it could access it.
H/T Washington Examiner.