A Senate investigation revealed today that the Obama administration secretly tried to sidestep its own rules from the Iran Nuclear Deal. The White House tried to help the rogue nation get access to billions in American dollars, by allowing international transactions with U.S. financial institutions. This is in addition to the billions in cash the regime received as part of the deal.
In addition, investigators allege the Obama White House lied about its plans to Congress, telling it repeatedly they would not allow Iran to conduct financial transactions with the West.
While the revelation should be big news, many mainstream media outlets, including CNN and MSNBC, have yet to publish the story on the front page of their website.
Instead, among the headlines CNN ran on their website was a story on embattled EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt’s interest in buying a Chick-fil-A. They also ran a number of stories critical of the Trump White House.
An investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday sheds light on the delicate balance the Obama administration sought to strike after the deal, as it worked to ensure Iran received its promised benefits without playing into the hands of the deal’s opponents.
Amid a tense political climate, Iran hawks in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere argued that the United States was giving far too much to Tehran and that the windfall would be used to fund extremism and other troubling Iranian activity.
The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that under President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department issued a license in February 2016, never previously disclosed, that would have allowed 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. If the Omani bank had allowed the exchange without such a license, it would have violated sanctions that bar Iran from transactions that touch the U.S. financial system.
The effort to give Iran access to the U.S. financial system failed primarily because American banks refused to do business with Iran, which was a stipulation of the nuclear deal. Even with a special license that granted permission to do so, Iran could find no takers, as banks were unwilling to risk negative publicity if the dealings were revealed.
Such a revelation should earn at least a single mention on CNN’s website home there was no mention of it among dozens of headlines. They did, however, manage to run a story mocking Ted Cruz’s response to a question and promoted a video of CNN anchor Don Lemon applauding reporter April Ryan berating Sarah Sanders with questions about Trump’s racism.
‘The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran,’ said Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, the subcommittee’s chairman.
Issuing the license was not illegal. Still, it went above and beyond what the Obama administration was required to do under the terms of the nuclear agreement. Under that deal, the U.S. and world powers gave Iran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program. Last month, President Donald Trump declared the U.S. was pulling out of what he described as a ‘disastrous deal.’
According to the report, the Obama administration went to great lengths to mislead Congress, even to the point of issuing outright lies.
Shortly after the nuclear deal was sealed in July 2015, then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew testified that even with the sanctions relief, Iran ‘will continue to be denied access to the world’s largest financial and commercial market.’ A month later, one of Lew’s top deputies, Adam Szubin, testified that despite the nuclear deal ‘Iran will be denied access to the world’s most important market and unable to deal in the world’s most important currency.’
Yet almost immediately after the sanctions relief took effect in January 2016, Iran began to complain that it wasn’t reaping the benefits it had envisioned. Iran argued that other sanctions – such as those linked to human rights, terrorism and missile development – were scaring off potential investors and banks who feared any business with Iran would lead to punishment.
Neither President Obama nor any of the former government officials connected to the situation have commented on the report.
This video details the Obama administration’s secret efforts.
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