Congress investigating secret Obama concessions to Iran

Special to WorldTribune.com

Congress is investigating whether President Barack Obama secretly granted Iran extra concessions in exchange for signing the nuclear deal last year.

House members say the president may have agreed to allow Teheran to resume intermediate ballistic missile launches and gain access to the U.S. economy as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference at the conclusion of the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on April 8. /Jacquelyn Martin/AP
President Barack Obama speaks at the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington on April 8. /Jacquelyn Martin/AP

“When multiple officials — including Secretary Kerry, Secretary Lew, and Ambassador Mull — testify in front of Members of Congress, we are inclined to believe them. However, the gap between their promises on the Iran nuclear deal and today’s scary reality continues to widen. We are now trying to determine whether this was intentional deception on the part of the administration or new levels of disturbing acquiescence to the Iranians,” one of the lawmakers spearheading the investigation, Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican, told the Washington Free Beacon.

In September 2015, acting Under Secretary of the Treasury Adam Szubin assured lawmakers that Iran would not be given the opportunity “to execute a dollarized transaction where a split second’s worth of business is done in a New York clearing bank.”

In March, however, the Associated Press reported that the Obama administration was contemplating “easing financial restrictions that prohibit U.S. dollars from being used in transactions with Iran,” which would result in a huge boost to Iran’s economy.

Rep. Brad Sherman, California Democrat, wrote in a letter to the president that allowing Iran access to the dollar “is clearly not required” by the terms set forth in the nuclear agreement.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, called the reports “deeply concerning,” and said, “the president should abandon this idea.”

Meanwhile, Reuters reported that the Obama administration no long refers to Iran’s ballistic-missile launches as a “violation” of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which codifies the nuclear deal. In March, Iran test-fired a missile capable of carrying a nuclear payload, the report said, and U.S., British, French and German officials called this “inconsistent with” and “in defiance” of the resolution.

According to the report, “the four powers’ carefully worded letter stopped short of calling the Iranian launches a ‘violation’ of the resolution, which ‘calls upon’ Iran to refrain for up to eight years from activity, including launches, related to ballistic missiles designed with the capability of delivering nuclear weapons.”

That contradicts testimony given by Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear Implementation Ambassador Stephen Mull in December. When asked whether the test-launch of ballistic missiles by Iran is a violation of the nuclear agreement, Mull responded: “It is not in violation of the JCPOA. It is a violation of Security Council resolutions.”

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