Congress moves to stop Obama from granting Iran added sanctions relief

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A group of congressmen is moving to cut off the Obama administration’s expansion of sanctions relief that could grant Iran access to the U.S. dollar and financial markets.

The lawmakers say the sanctions relief goes beyond what was agreed to under the nuclear accord reached last year. The Obama administration said it would consider the new options just days after Iran supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States of interfering with Iranian banking.

President Barack Obama is continuing a long line of concessions to Iran, GOP lawmakers say.
President Barack Obama is adding to a series of concessions to Iran, Republican lawmakers say. /Getty Images

At least part of the administration’s action could violate current U.S. laws, the lawmakers told the Washington Free Beacon.

President Barack Obama had vowed Iran would never be allowed access to the U.S. dollar or financial markets when the nuclear deal was concluded, according to recent report by the Associated Press.

“Any administration effort to get foreign financial institutions or foreign-based clearing houses to enable Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime to conduct transactions in U.S. dollars ignores American laws and the Financial Action Task Force,” Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, told the Free Beacon.

“Such an effort would benefit Iran’s terror financiers while fundamentally undermining the USA PATRIOT ACT 311 finding that Iran’s entire financial sector is a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern.”

Rep. Mike Pompeo, Kansas Republican and a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said the move by Obama could lead to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) gaining a foothold in the U.S. economy.

“As if a windfall of over $100 billion in sanctions relief was too small, and the massive cash influx into Iran from new business deals too paltry, President Obama appears to be looking for ways to make further concessions to Iran,” said Pompeo, who also has backed new legislation to sanction Iran. “This would be comical if it wasn’t so dangerous.”

“American and international businesses can’t ignore the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ vast control of the Iranian economy and the threat Iranian banks pose to the international financial system.”

Rep. Peter Roskam, Illinois Republican, said that the “administration has lost all credibility on Iran. President Obama and Secretary Kerry have played the pied piper so many times now. Western companies have to make the determination themselves whether or not they want to make their employees and shareholders complicit in funding terrorism.”