The Obama administration is helping Iran access billions of dollars in funds that are tied up in international banks across the globe. The administration is rewriting regulations and laws to free up the funds which the top US official Thomas Shannon admitted could be used to fund terrorism. In fact, he admitted Iran has increased their sponsoring of terrorism in the region.
This isn’t violating the nuclear agreement [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA] and it appears nothing does. Iran can merely violate the “spirit” of the deal or act “inconsistently” no matter what they do.
At the same time, the administration is pursuing a plan to give Iran unprecedented access to the US dollar and American financial markets though the administration promised that would not happen.
Thomas Shannon, the State Department’s undersecretary for political affairs, informed lawmakers that efforts to aid Iran’s access to funds includes direct engagement from the Obama administration.
“There will be instances in which we need to help Iran access that money by clarifying the regulations under which money can be transferred to them,” Shannon told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
As sanctions are lifted, the Obama administration has gotten themselves in the position of having to alter financial regulations to make sure Iran can get the frozen assets.
“We have found that as Iran seeks those funds there are banks that are unclear about the nature of the regulatory structures and what sanctions have been lifted and what have not,” Shannon said. The administration “believes that it is in our national interests to ensure the commitments we made are being followed through on. This is part of a larger engagement we’ve had with the Iranians on different aspects of our commitments.”
Shannon admitted that this money could be used by Iran to fund terror operations and destabilizing activities in the region.
“In regard to whether or not Iran continues to fund terrorist related activities or destabilizing active in the region, there’s no doubt that’s true and we’re seeing it, whether its in Syria, whether its in Lebanon and Hezbollah, whether its in Yemen with what they’re doing with the Houthi rebels,” Shannon said in response to questions from Sen. David Perdue (R., Ga.).
Russia will sell Iran SU-30 fighter aircraft which is prohibited but Shannon said the US hopes to block it at the UN.
It came out during testimony that the administration isn’t going to sanction Iran’s financial institutions, only individuals, which some in the Senate see as completely ineffective.
Shannon told Senator Menendez at around 59:00 in the video linked below that the language used to criticize Iran’s use of long-range missiles aimed at Israel was that it was “inconsistent” with the language of the nuclear agreement, not that it was in “violation”.
Menendez pressed Shannon on why we didn’t use the word “violation” instead of “inconsistent” and Shannon ducked saying he’s not an international lawyer.
The weakness of the Obama administration is deliberately tentative and left the Senate unable to sanction Iran.
Shannon said their efforts are to help Iran’s neighbors protect themselves [as we help them secure billions of dollars they are using to attack them].
The claim is the breakout period has been extended from 90 days to one year though we have no way of monitoring them by their prior admissions. The UN monitors Iran’s nuclear program but cannot take action and has no ability to share their information and concerns because it’s in the Obama agreement that they can’t.
Secretary of State John Kerry appeared to confirm reports on Tuesday morning that the administration will help Iran secure the assets, when he stated in an interview that Iran “absolutely” deserves access to the U.S. banking system.
The JCPOA has only delayed Iran’s nuclear program but has basically given them the okay to go ahead.
The Wall Street Journal wrote two days ago:
Sadly, behind all the talk of change, the Iran we have long known—hostile, expansionist, violent—is alive and well, and as dangerous as ever. […]
Since the nuclear deal, however, Iran has only doubled down on its posturing and provocations. In October, November and again in early March, Iran conducted ballistic-missile tests in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.
In December, Iran fired rockets dangerously close to a U.S. aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, just weeks before it detained a group of American sailors. In February, Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan visited Moscow for talks to purchase more than $8 billion in Russian fighter jets, planes and helicopters.
Iran is engaging in money laundering and sees the deal as an opportunity to increase hostilities in the region.