According to a recent report by Senate Republicans, the Obama administration tried to sidestep the 2015 nuclear deal sanctions to give Iran access to the U.S. financial system.
“On Feb. 24, 2016, the Treasury Department issued a specific license to Bank Muscat to authorize the conversion of Iran’s rials to euros through ‘any United States depository institution …,’” writes the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations. “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.”
The report released Wednesday reveals that the Treasury Department under Obama was going to allow “Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars,” reports Newsmax.
To use the U.S. financial system to convert the billions “was the most efficient means, even though U.S. sanctions prohibited it,” according to the GOP report.
Bank Muscat, an Omani bank was granted the license from the Obama Administration, the same administration that went out of its way to approached two U.S. banks to complete the conversion, but both refused to do business with Iran.
Ultimately, the transactions didn’t end up going through.
“The Obama administration during the negotiation of the Iran deal misled the American people,” said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), subcommittee chairman. “I think they did so because they were desperate to get a deal.”
“As the Treasury and State Department worked behind the scenes to help Iran access the dollar, the message to Congress remained the same: The JCPOA did not allow Iran to access the U.S. financial system,” reads the report. “Bank Muscat was unable to effectuate the conversion using the U.S. dollar. The State Department indicated Iran converted the funds in small increments using European banks and without accessing the U.S. financial system.”
A former Obama administration official denies any wrongdoing.
“This specific license cannot be described as ‘granting access to the U.S. financial system,’” said the former official. “This specific license was in fulfillment of JCPOA commitments to give Iran access to pools of its money held overseas. It was aimed solely to allow the movement of Iran’s own funds stranded at an Omani bank into euros at a European bank, where Iran could then make use of them.”
Apparently, this was a workaround since issuing the license was not technically illegal.
After signing the 2015 Nuclear deal, Iran became frustrated with the lack of financial benefits and the Obama administration was trying to appeal the country with this workaround.
“As the Obama administration pondered how to address Iran’s complaints in 2016, reports in The Associated Press and other media outlets revealed that the U.S. was considering additional sanctions relief, including issuing licenses that would allow Iran limited transactions in dollars. Democratic and Republican lawmakers argued against it throughout the late winter, spring and summer of 2016. They warned that unless Tehran was willing to give up more, the U.S. shouldn’t give Iran anything more than it already had,” writes Newsmax.
“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,” reads the report. “Despite these claims, 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.”
About a month ago, President Donald Trump officially withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Nuclear Deal with Iran, an agreement he referred to as “a horrible, one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made.”
“We now have an opportunity to fix the fundamental flaws in this deal and put in place a strong agreement that truly protects America’s national security interests and the interests of our allies in the region,” said Portman.
Author’s note: Now the details are coming out about this lousy deal, along with some of the secret dealings the Obama administration was trying to hide from the public and Congress.