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President Barack Obama can expect a fight from Congress over reported plans to give Iran access to U.S. financial markets.
Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo reported that the Obama administration will have a fight on its hands as it looks to expand the sanctions relief outlined in the “historic” nuclear deal with the Persian Gulf country:
Leading foreign policy voices in Congress say they are preparing to fight against an Obama administration effort to provide Iran unprecedented access to U.S. financial resources as part of an expanded package meant to address new demands from the Islamic Republic’s for greater economic concessions, according to several conversations between the Washington Free Beacon and top lawmakers.
The Obama administration is currently exploring new options to grant Iran more sanctions relief than promised under the comprehensive nuclear agreement reached last year, just days after Iran’s Supreme Leader gave a speech accusing the United States of interfering with Iranian banking.
The options reportedly would “grant Iran further concessions beyond the purview of the nuclear deal, which dismantled key nuclear-related U.S. sanctions against Iran” and may “include access to the U.S. dollar and financial markets, which the Obama administration promised would never take place under the deal,” Kredo noted.
The effort to “placate the Iranians” comes on the heels of a recent Free Beacon report disclosing that U.S. officials “engaged in secret talks with Iran for years before agreeing in January to pay it nearly $2 billion in taxpayer funds.”
And Congress is not taking these allegations lightly:
The reports have generated harsh responses from lawmakers, who say that the administration’s plans would endanger American economic influence and put the entire international financial system at risk from Iran’s illicit finance and money laundering activities.
“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 (R., Ill.) 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,” Kirk said.
“It would also undermine “the Financial Action Task Force’s ongoing calls for international countermeasures to protect financial sectors from Iran’s terrorist financing,” explained Kirk, who is backing a new effort in Congress to increase sanctions on Iran as a result of its recent ballistic missile tests, which violate United Nations resolutions.
Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., a member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who is independently investigating the Obama administration’s recent $1.7 billion “ransom payment” to Iran, warned these efforts could grant the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps 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,” Pompeo continued in a statement to the Free Beacon.
“In contrast with the absurd policies of the Obama administration, I work with my colleagues in Congress to protect America’s national security interests—just as we have in response to Iran’s recent ballistic missile tests.”
Rep. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., a member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and a candidate for U.S. Senate, called the administration efforts to placate Iran “breathtaking.
“Further sanctions relief would mark the death knell for U.S. sanctions and would represent a boon to the Iranian regime and its Revolutionary Guard Corp,” DeSantis told the Free Beacon. “The lengths to which the Obama administration is willing to go to empower Iran is breathtaking.”
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