Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) on Wednesday issued a statement in response to the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations report that showed the Obama Administration secretly authorized Iranian access to the United States financial system in order to hasten the nuclear deal.
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.
The Senate committee found that the Obama Treasury Department planned to issue a sanctions-thwarting license to empower two USA banks to help Iran convert $5.7 billion Omani rials into Euros.
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 USA sanctions.
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.
Republican senators like Rob Portman (R-OH) were frustrated with new proof that the Obama administration broke its promise.
Though the nuclear deal kept certain sanctions in place, the license allowed Iran to access previously frozen assets totaling $5.7 billion in an Omani bank.
Iran wanted to convert the Omani rials to Euros, but the Omani rial's value is tied to the US dollar. Foreign financial institutions were free to conduct business with the government of Iran and Iranian entities, but US financial institutions continued to be barred from engaging Iran. The banks correctly concluded that a myriad of legal and liability issues prevented their participation - a conclusion the Treasury Department would have been wise to reach itself. In order for the conversion to be complete, the rials had to be converted to USA dollars, which would then be converted into euros.
However, they said the decision to grant the license had been made in line with the spirt of the deal, which included allowing Iran to regain access to foreign reserves that had been off-limits because of the sanctions.
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 USA financial system.
Obama administration officials at the time assured concerned lawmakers that a general license wouldn't be coming.
The situation resulted from the fact that Iran had stored billions in Omani rials, a currency that's notoriously hard to convert. 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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