According to a new report written by Senate GOP members, top officials in the Obama administration secretly authorized Iran to be able to convert assets to the U.S. dollar, even after the same officials repeatedly assured Congress that no such financial transactions would take place under the 2015 nuclear deal.
The Washington Post reported that Republican Senator Rob Portman, who is the chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), claims that top government officials granted a “license” allowing the conversion of Iranian assets worth billions of U.S. dollars through the U.S. financial system.
“Senior U.S. government officials repeatedly testified to Congress that Iranian access to the U.S. financial system was not on the table or part of any deal,” the report reads. “Despite these claims, 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,” it continues.
However, the transactions didn’t happen because two U.S. banks refused to comply with the administration’s request to convert the money over legal and reputational concerns, the report says. It also mentions several instances where top officials like Treasury Secretary Jack Lew pledged before Congress and the public that Iran would not have access to the U.S. financial system, both before and after authorizing the license.
“The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran,” Portman said in a statement.
Former President Barack Obama along with several allies signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran in the summer of 2015. Under the deal, Iran was supposed to put its nuclear program on hold in exchange for lifting the economic sanctions imposed previously.