Published: Sat, June 09, 2018

Sen. Cruz: In Nuclear Deal, Obama Served the Iranian Devil

Sen. Cruz: In Nuclear Deal, Obama Served the Iranian Devil

The Obama Administration actively worked to violate the terms of the JCPOA by granting the Iranians access to the USA financial system and the US dollar.

The plan failed when two USA banks refused to participate, but the Treasury Department's issuing of a license to allow Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman was not illegal.

Not only that, Senate investigators found that officials from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which regulates US banks' compliance with USA sanctions law, "encouraged two US correspondent banks to convert the funds".

The investigation, published Wednesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, further discloses secret efforts by top Obama administration officials to assure European countries they would receive a pass from USA sanctions if they engaged in business with Iran.

In other words, the Obama administration: (1) told Congress it would not allow Iran access to US financial institutions; (2) issued a special license allowing Iran to do exactly that; (3) unsuccessfully pressured USA banks to help Iran; (4) lied to Congress and the American people about what it had done; (5) admitted in internal emails that these efforts "exceeded" USA obligations under the nuclear deal; (6) sent officials, including bank regulators, around the world to urge foreign financial institutions to do business with Iran; and (7) promised that they would get nothing more than a slap on the wrist for violating USA sanctions.

In September 2015, Adam Szubin, Obama's Beneath Secretary of the Treasury for Terrorism and Monetary Intelligence, stated in a speech, "Iran won't be able to open financial institution accounts with USA banks, nor will Iran be capable of entry the USA banking sector, even for that momentary transaction to, what we name, dollarize a global cost" - the very transfer Treasury granted Iran.

"Since Iran has kept its end of the deal, it is our responsibility to uphold ours, in both letter and spirit", Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in March 2016, without offering details.

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 USA was considering additional sanctions relief, including issuing licenses that would allow Iran limited transactions in dollars.

"The Obama Iran nuclear deal was a devil's bargain, but one exclusively created to help the devil", Sen.

The report outlines key transparency recommendations to ensure such secret side deals do not occur, including requiring the current Trump administration to keep Congress informed on the status of any future negotiations with Iran and disclosing to Congress any specific licenses that are proposed. This would have sidestepped USA sanctions still in place. Well, when it comes to the Iran deal, the Obama administration took lying to new heights. Bank Muscat sought to convert $5.7 billion in Omai rials into euros on behalf of Iran. They warned that unless Tehran was willing to give up more, the USA shouldn't give Iran anything more than it already had.

The report recommends further informing Congress about future negotiations with Iran, requiring the Treasury Department to give notice of specific licenses, reviewing all Iran deal-related licenses, and increasing policing of United States sanctions policies, regardless of what country they are for. Following the issuance of the specific license, OFAC contacted two US banks to convert Iran's rials to USA dollars.

However, the banks declined to participate out of fear that doing so would harm their reputations.

- Transparency on other sanctions relief granted to Iran and whether this relief also exceeded the scope of the JCPOA or contradicted public statements by Obama administration officials.

After Treasury officials were examining whether the Iran deal's relevant sanctions permit currency exchange of rials to dollars, the report says a Treasury official wrote in an email, "Yikes".

According to the report, a senior State Department official explained that such "transactions are prohibited by USA sanctions that are still in place, and which we were clear we would not be removing as part of the (Iran deal)".

That same week, the AP reported that the Treasury had prepared a draft of a license that would have given Iran much broader permission to convert its assets from foreign currencies into easier-to-spend currencies like euros, yen or rupees, by first exchanging them for dollars at offshore financial institutions. And Asian and European banks are wary because US regulators have levied billions of dollars in fines in recent years and threatened transgressors with a cutoff from the far more lucrative American market.

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