Thursday, 20 September, 2018

Obama-era license aimed to let Iran convert money in dollars

US President Barack Obama speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington Thursday Obama-era license aimed to let Iran convert money in dollars
Melinda Barton | 09 June, 2018, 20:35

The report claims the Obama Treasury Department issued a license to Bank Muscat to authorize "conversion of Iranian assets worth billions of US dollars using the USA financial system". And the Obama 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. The report found that Iran was "never able to access the market because two us banks refused to participate, but said the Obama administration's effort was contrary to the plans it conveyed to Congress", reported the Washington Examiner.

Republicans argue that Obama administration officials, in their eagerness to clinch the nuclear deal and push the license forward, violated financial and oil related sanctions imposed on Iran after its seizure of the US Embassy in Tehran in 1979 by trying to give Iran access to the US financial system. A special license was then granted quietly by the 44th President's administration in February of 2016, explicitly allowing the usage of American financial infrastructure to funnel the stranded Iranian monies to amenable European banks, which converted the finances into liquid Euros for the Iranian leadership. 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.] financial and commercial market". "This will include efforts to eliminate the threat of Iran's ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activity across the Middle East".

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

We have said from the beginning that the Iran deal was fatally flawed, and that Iran had no intention of adhering to it.

"Shortly after issuing the specific license to use the USA financial system to convert the rials, a Treasury official wrote in an email on the matter, 'I think we earned the right to never discuss this matter ever again.' I disagree", Portman told his fellow Senators.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate Homeland Security Committee revealed that the Obama administration ignored U.S. sanctions, lied to Congress, and misled the American people in order to funnel billions of dollars to the terrorist regime that rules Iran.

McGurn said scandals are the norm in most administrations, but he finds the Obama administration's dealings with Iran in a category of its own that involve misleading Congress and the public. Bank Muscat sought to convert $5.7 billion in Omai rials into euros on behalf of Iran.

Former Obama administration officials have said the decision to grant the license adhered to the spirit of the agreement, which included allowing Iran to regain access to foreign reserves that had been off-limits because of US sanctions. Iran as a substitute approached the USA a couple of waiver - one which the Obama administration granted in February 2016, in a transfer that had not been beforehand disclosed.

When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, the Obama administration increasingly appears to have been a bottomless pit of deception.

Former Obama administration officials declined to comment for the record.

Investigators also found internal State Department emails, in which officials admitted that the Obama administration had "exceeded our JCPOA commitments" by authorizing Iranian access to US banks. The report drills down deeper, naming the specific financial institution involved - the Iranian Bank Muscat was allowed to move almost $6 billion through the U.S. marketplace.

The report found that the plan failed only when the two USA banks refused to participate, citing the complexity and the unwanted appearance involved in processing an Iranian transaction.