Obama admin granted Iran secret license to entry USA {dollars}: GOP report

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"Officials repeatedly testified to Congress that Iranian access to the USA financial system was not on the table or part of any deal", says the majority report of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

They also dispute whether providing the momentary access to US banks to convert funds through the dollar constituted "access to the USA financial system". They were also complaining that despite the lifting of sanctions under the Iran deal, there were still enough sanctions on the regime that discouraged investment in the country.

Despite these direct and repeated assurances to Congress that the Administration would not allow Iran access to either the US dollar or USA financial institutions, US officials took direct action to surreptitiously authorize both of these privileges.

However, the banks declined to participate out of fear that doing so would harm their reputations. Over the years we've discovered some of them: There was the nuclear side deal to let Iran inspect itself. 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.

"The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran", said Sen.

The findings are at odds with statements from senior Obama White House, State Department and Treasury Department officials who repeatedly said Iran would continue to lack access to the USA financial and commercial markets following the implementation of the Iran deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The Obama administration asked two USA banks to facilitate the conversion of the Iranian assets, but its effort was ultimately unsuccessful as the banks refused to take such action citing reputational damage in dealing with Iran and potential wrongdoing of violating existing U.S. sanctions.

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"I agree it would be a good idea to have (Treasury Secretary Jack) Lew engage (the USA bank)".

US sanctions block Iran from exchanging the money on its own.

But in the end, Treasury officials concluded that the transaction was legal.

And when questioned by lawmakers about the possibility of granting Iran any kind of access to the USA financial system, Obama-era officials never volunteered that the specific license for Bank Muscat in Oman had been issued two months earlier. The U.S. dollar is the world's dominant currency, so allowing it to be used as a conversion instrument for Iranian assets was the easiest and most efficient way to speed up Iran's access to its own funds. This authorization came in the form of a specific license and was for the express objective of easing Iran's conversion of the $5.7 billion from rials to dollars to euros.

The report says that government officials said in subsequent testimony to Congress, though, that Iran would not be granted access to the financial system. But not only did it allow Iran to do so, it encouraged USA banks to complete transactions for Iran. Treasury Department officials downplayed any potential future penalties or fines, stating that 95 percent of the time, OFAC sends a warning letter or takes no action. Despite issuing the specific license to allow Iran to access the USA financial system, Bank Muscat was unable to effectuate the conversion using the US dollar. Recommendations include 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 USA sanctions policies.

The Administration was crystal clear to Congress on this point.

- Congress should require the Treasury Department to provide notice of any specific license to Congress. OFAC should effectively police USA sanctions and ensure the current sanctions regime is properly enforced.

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