Foreign Policy

Obama's Iran Lie Was Even Bigger

His ultimate legacy goal was to see Iran empowered in the Middle East.

Thomas Gallatin · Jun. 7, 2018

As if Barack Obama’s Iran deal wasn’t built on enough lies, a recent investigation concluded that the Obama administration skirted sanctions in order to grant Iran access to billions of dollars via the U.S. financial system, all the while telling the American people and Congress that it remained committed to barring Tehran from access to America’s banks. On Wednesday, the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations published its report, which found that Obama officials secretly directed Treasury Department officials to produce a specific license with the aim of giving Iran access to $5.7 billion in hard currency. The report states, “As the Treasury and State Department worked behind the scenes to help Iran access the dollar, the message to Congress remained the same: The [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] did not allow Iran to access the U.S. financial system.”

And we’re not even talking about the pallets loaded with ransom cash.

The report also disclosed that top Obama-era officials essentially gave European countries the green light to do business with Iran, encouraging them to ignore the sanction restrictions. Investigators found, “For example, during a [pro-Iran] roadshow in London in March 2015 with representatives from 10 major global financial institutions, the head of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Asset Compliance [OFAC] assured attendees that ‘95 percent of the time OFAC sees an apparent violation it results in a simple warning letter or no enforcement action.’ He explained OFAC would only take action in egregious situations.”

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), chairman of the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, blasted the former administration, stating, “The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran. Despite claims both before and after the Iran deal was completed that the U.S. financial system would remain off limits, the Obama administration issued a specific license allowing Iran to convert billions of dollars in assets using the U.S. financial system.” Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) observed that Obama was trying to “hide a secret push to give the ayatollah access to the U.S. dollar.”

Going back to 2015, Obama wanted his Iran nuclear deal to be his signature foreign policy accomplishment, cementing his legacy as the president who fundamentally changed America’s approach to the Middle East. Obama clearly shunned and loathed the U.S.‘s strongest ally in the region, Israel, and instead made overtures to Israel’s biggest enemy in the region, Iran. To Obama, Israel, not Iran, was the Middle East’s largest problem, and the U.S. had unfairly supported it. Obama’s legacy would be to balance things out — to give the Middle East back to the Islamists. It’s all based on the leftist rationale that blames U.S. meddling for the violence in the region. To Obama, the U.S. was the big bully that had stolen Iran’s money, and as president he was finally in a position to set things “right.”

For Obama, the Iran nuclear deal was never really about preventing the number one state sponsor of terrorism from getting nukes; it was all about making things “fair.” And this latest revelation only further establishes that motive.

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