It recently came to light that, as part of the Iran nuclear deal, the administration of former President Barack Obama had sought to sidestep economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic and grant Iran access to the U.S. financial system.
That secretive effort involved an attempt to grant a license to Iran that would allow the country to convert billions of dollars in foreign currencies it held into euros by way of an exchange using U.S. dollars and U.S. banks, a transaction prohibited by sanctions that remained in place.
It would appear that no U.S. financial institutions bit on the offer and the exchange never took place as planned, but some members of Congress are angry because Obama administration officials had testified under oath that Iranian access to the U.S. financial system was never part of the negotiations for a deal..
According to the Washington Examiner, former senior Obama adviser Ben Rhodes — who played an integral role in bringing about the Iran nuclear deal — was pressed suprisingly hard about the developments by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, but Rhodes’ answers left much to be desired.
Rhodes initially attempted to dance around whether this incident occurred before or after the deal was signed, a rather key point that he never fully addressed, and repeatedly referenced how it was Iran’s “own money” — which the country should have access to, in his view — that was being discussed.
When Blitzer pointed out that no U.S. banks wanted to participate in the scheme — as they rightly viewed it as in violation of sanctions — Rhodes blew that off as no big deal since the exchange never occurred.
“First of all, this was a single license that was granted that was never even used,” Rhodes said. “And the fact that, here we are, (Republicans) got what they wanted, they tore up the Iran deal, they scrapped the Iran deal.”
Oh, okay, so since the illicit license to bypass economic sanctions was never actually used, it must have been okay then? And since the Iran deal has since been scrapped, what’s the big worry? No harm, no foul, right?
Rhodes continued: “Instead of actually putting forward a policy for nuclear weapons going forward, they are investigating things in a partisan way that happened years ago.”
Somebody should ask Paul Manafort how he feels about partisan investigations of things that happened many years ago, but I digress.
“And frankly what is more concerning to me is the fact that a few days ago, the supreme leader of Iran said they’re going to resume the nuclear enrichment activities. That is what we should be worried about here,” Rhodes added.
Check out part of the interview here:
But, we were all assured that such a predictable outcome would be impossible, for Iran had no nuclear program to start with, much less one they could “resume” now that the deal has been canceled … or so we were told.
Again, acting as though it was no big deal, Rhodes brushed off the scheme as occurring “at the end of the administration,” and submitted that other officials had informed Congress that the U.S. “would have to take steps to allow Iran access to its own money,” which in his view would cover the “routine license” issued by the Treasury Department.
These were some rather lame excuses put forward by Rhodes to divert attention away from what was quite likely an illegal act on the part of the Obama administration.
But his lame excuses hold no weight and there is no way to cover up the administration’s schemes any longer.
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