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With New Report on Obama’s “Secret” Iran License, Was Blumenthal Wrong About Iran Deal?

June 6, 2018 By Staff
With New Report on Obama’s “Secret” Iran License, Was Blumenthal Wrong About Iran Deal?

Richard Blumenthal warned in 2015 that rejection of the Iran nuclear deal would produce "an economic windfall for Iran." A new report suggests the Obama administration tried to give Iran a windfall anyway.

A new Senate subcommittee report, on the Obama administration’s “secret” license allowing Iran to briefly access U.S. currency, may shed new light on Sen. Richard Blumenthal’s (D-Conn.) warning that Iran would receive “an economic windfall” if Congress rejected the deal.

The AP wrote, on the Senate subcommittee report:

The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that under President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department issued a license in February 2016, never previously disclosed, that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars. 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 U.S. financial system.

The effort was unsuccessful because American banks — themselves afraid of running afoul of U.S. sanctions — declined to participate. The Obama administration approached two U.S. banks to facilitate the conversion, the report said, but both refused, citing the reputational risk of doing business with or for Iran.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), who was a “key holdout” on the Iran deal in 2015, said when announcing his support for the deal that rejection of the deal would produce “an economic windfall for Iran.”

“Rejecting this agreement is fraught with unacceptable risk. Our formal negotiation partners and allies have signaled clearly that they are not coming back to the table – a point confirmed in my conversations and meetings. There is no better deal available now. The present sanctions will soon become unenforceable, producing an economic windfall for Iran whether or not the United States accepts the agreement. The United States, instead of Iran, would be isolated. Iran’s nuclear program would be unconstrained. Rejection would fracture our unified efforts with allies and greatly weaken international pressure on Iran and American leadership, especially if economic sanctions are needed.”

It appears, though, that the Obama administration was intent on bringing an economic windfall to Iran anyway. Will Blumenthal correct the record, given this new information?