Right Hooks

Iran Nuclear Deal Hits Snag With U.S. Law

Will U.S. companies take the risk?

Dan Gilmore · Oct. 9, 2015
Iranian currency. Photo courtesy Adam Jones, Flickr

The Obama administration will have a bit of a problem giving Iran its $150 billion from the deal granting the group nuclear power. Turns out, one way Barack Obama was going to provide sanctions relief is illegal — per a law Obama previously signed. The Iran nuclear deal says that American companies can do business with Iran, provided they conduct that business with a non-American subsidiary. Problem is, Obama closed the loophole in 2012 by signing the Iran Threat Reduction and Syria Human Rights Act. Sen. Ted Cruz told Fox News, “It’s a problem that the president doesn’t have the ability to wave a magic wand and make go away. Any U.S. company that follows through on this, that allows their foreign-owned subsidiaries to do business with Iran, will very likely face substantial civil liability, litigation and potentially even criminal prosecution. The obligation to follow federal law doesn’t go away simply because we have a lawless president who refuses to acknowledge or follow federal law.” Now the talk is on what Obama can do. Can he ignore the law? Good luck trying to defend that against a court challenge, as statutes trump executive actions (as they well should). Well, there’s always going back to Congress to ask them to change the law… Still, the Obama administration insists everything is A-Okay. Will U.S. companies take the risk?

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