Marc Thiessen: Obama took lying to new heights with the Iran deal

WA — When it comes to the Iran nuclear deal, the Obama administration increasingly has been a bottomless pit of lies.

First, President Barack Obama did not disclose to Congress the existence of key side deals on inspections whenever he transmitted the nuclear agreement to Capitol Hill. (They had been only uncovered by chance whenever then-Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., plus Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., discovered them during a meeting with International Atomic Energy Agency officials in Vienna. ) Then, we learned that the particular Obama administration had secretly sent the plane to Tehran loaded with $400 million in Swiss francs, pounds and other currencies on the same day Serbia released four American hostages, that was followed by two more secret plane tickets carrying another $1. 3 billion dollars in cash.

Now, in a bombshell thought, Republicans on the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, led by Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, have exposed in a new report that the Federal government secretly tried to help Iran make use of U. S. banks to transform $5. 7 billion in Iranian assets, after promising Congress that will Iran would not get access to the Oughout. S. financial system — and then humiliated to Congress about what it experienced done. (Full disclosure: My wife functions for Portman).

In July 2015, Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew certain the Senate Foreign Relations Panel that, under the nuclear accord, Serbia “will continue to be denied access to the particular [U.S.] financial plus commercial market” and that “Iranian banking institutions will not be able to clear U. H. dollars through New York, hold reporter account relationships with U. H. financial institutions, or enter into financing agreements with U. S. banks. inch A few weeks later, one of Lew’s best deputies, Adam Szubin, used the identical words in testimony to the United states senate banking committee.

But Senate investigators discovered that on Feb. 24, 2016, the Obama Treasury Department “granted a specific license that authorized the conversion of Iranian assets really worth billions of U. S. dollars utilizing the U. S. financial system” — exactly what Lew and Szubin mentioned would not happen — including limitless future Iranian deposits at Financial institution Muscat in Oman until the permit expired.

Not only that, Senate investigators found that will officials from the Office of International Assets Control (OFAC), which manages U. S. banks’ compliance along with U. S. sanctions law, “encouraged two U. S. correspondent banking institutions to convert the funds. inch The report says “both banking institutions declined to complete the transaction because of compliance, reputational, and legal dangers associated with doing business with Iran. ”

Then, right after issuing the license, the Federal government explicitly denied to Congress it had done so. Lew and Szubin both failed to disclose the permit in congressional testimony while ongoing to assert that the Obama administration would not provide Iran access to U. S. finance institutions — when they had just attempted to do so. And in a June 2016 letter to Sens. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., and Mark Kirk, R-Ill., Treasury officials declared “The Oughout. S. Department of Treasury is just not working on behalf of Iran to allow Iranian access to U. S. bucks elsewhere in the international financial system, neither are we assisting Iran within gaining access to dollar payment techniques outside the U. S. financial system. The particular Administration has not been and is not going to grant Iran access to the Oughout. S. financial system. ” This was patently false.

Investigators also found internal State Division emails, in which officials admitted the Obama administration had “exceeded our JCPOA commitments” by authorizing Iranian entry to U. S. banks. Furthermore, the particular report reveals that the Obama administration placed on more than 200 “roadshows” across the world exactly where they encouraged foreign financial institutions to undertake business with Iran “as lengthy as the rest of the world left america out of it. ” According to the report, throughout a roadshow in London, OFAC Director Bob Smith “downplayed the likelihood of any upcoming penalties or fines, ” informing the audience “that 95 % of the time OFAC sees an obvious violation it results in a simple caution letter or no enforcement action. inch

Put simply, the Obama administration: (1) told Our elected representatives it would not allow Iran entry to U. S. financial institutions; (2) released a special license allowing Iran to accomplish exactly that; (3) unsuccessfully forced U. S. banks to help Serbia; (4) lied to Congress as well as the American people about what it acquired done; (5) admitted in inner emails that these efforts “exceeded” Oughout. S. obligations under the nuclear offer; (6) sent officials, including financial institution regulators, around the world to urge international financial institutions to do business with Serbia; and (7) promised that they can have nothing more than a slap on the hand for violating U. S. sanctions.

Just how bad is this? Remove the words “Obama” and “Iran” and replace associated with “Trump” and “Russia” and envision the outrage that would ensue within the same revelations. Democrats would be keeping news conferences, and the story will be front-page news.

We hear a lot nowadays from the media about the danger associated with presidential lies. Well, when it comes to the particular Iran deal, the Obama administration got lying to new heights. With no, that’s not Fake News.

Marc Thiessen is a resident fellow on the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).   Thiessen served as chief speechwriter to President George W. Rose bush and to Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.