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Secret Obama-era permit let Iran convert funds to dollars

09 June 2018

But Senate investigators found that on February 24, 2016, the Obama Treasury Department "granted a specific license that authorized a conversion of Iranian assets worth billions of US dollars using the USA financial system" - exactly what Lew and Szubin said would not happen - including unlimited future Iranian deposits at Bank Muscat in Oman until the license expired.

The funds were held in Omani rials, and because the rial is pegged to the dollar the most effective way to convert the funds was first to change them into dollars, which would have allowed Iran brief access to the USA financial system, according to the committee's report.

It essentially amounted to an Obama Administration sanctioned money laundering scheme for Iran - attempting to clean billions of dollars in Iranian funds through USA banks into sanction-free and easily spendable euros.

The investigation, published Wednesday by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, further discloses secret efforts by top Obama administration officials to assure European countries they would receive a pass from US sanctions if they engaged in business with Iran.

A new Senate subcommittee report, on the Obama administration's "secret" license allowing Iran to briefly access US currency, may shed new light on Sen.

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In July 2015 then-Treasury Secretary Jack Lew told lawmakers Iran "will continue to be denied access to the world's largest financial and commercial market", referring to the U.S. The report said they decided that the terms of the JCPOA were "consistent with Iran's position, allowing the Government of Iran to engage in 'transfers, ' 'foreign exchange (including Rial related transactions),' and the 'purchase or acquisition by the Government of Iran of United States bank notes'".

Obama's team lied about the Iranian deal in almost every way.

Just three months earlier, the same agency issued a specific license for Iran to access to the USA financial system and the US dollar.

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. Well, when it comes to the Iran deal, the Obama administration took lying to new heights.

Iran eventually found other ways to convert its money to Euros so it could access it.

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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. They warned that unless Tehran was willing to give up more, the USA shouldn't give Iran anything more than it already had.

Investigators stated the episode ought to illustrate the significance of the US monetary system and the way a lot leverage that offers the USA over Iran now that the Trump administration has violated the nuclear deal and withdrawn the USA from it. The license authorized Iran to convert its once-frozen Omani rials into dollars and then euros. The report says "both banks declined to complete the transaction due to compliance, reputational, and legal risks associated with doing business with Iran". In fact, the Treasury Department maintained Iran was not given access to the US financial system, nor was the USA government working to give them access.

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

- Transparency on other sanctions relief granted to Iran and whether this relief also exceeded the scope of the JCPOA or contradicted public statements by Obama administration officials.

That same week, the AP reported that the Treasury had prepared a draft of a license that would have given Iran much broader permission to convert its assets from foreign currencies into easier-to-spend currencies like euros, yen or rupees, by first exchanging them for dollars at offshore financial institutions. OFAC officials should also refrain from telling foreign persons and entities that violations of USA sanctions only result in an enforcement action five percent of the time.

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Secret Obama-era permit let Iran convert funds to dollars