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December 11th, 2018

Insight

How the Obama administration played a double game with Congress and Iran

Paul Greenberg

By Paul Greenberg

Published June 14,2018

How the Obama administration played a double game with Congress and Iran

Now it can be told, and indeed has been told by a U.S. Senate subcommittee on investigations. The last administration publicly pretended that it was standing fast against any attempt to give what may be the world's most dangerous regime -- that of Iran's mullahs -- access to the American financial system. Yet all the time these masterminds were working to convert $5.7 billion worth of American currency held by a bank in Oman into negotiable American assets.

How do you say money-laundering in Farsi? Because that was the object of all this finagling. So much for keeping this vast sum safe from Iranian manipulation.

It seems they were all in this together, from the Obama-era White House to the Treasury and State departments -- all of whom steadfastly denied they knew anything about giving the Iranians entry into our financial markets and letting them buy and sell freely using American dollars instead of their own national currencies. Duplicity, thy name is the Obama administration.

Please spare us not just such low deals but the high rationales for them. Joe McCarthy, where are you now that your country could really use you to blow the whistle on these collaborationists? Dead at a preposterously young age of cirrhosis of the liver, a not unusual diagnosis among heavy drinkers. But this time he wouldn't have to make anything up about an administration that's been playing footsie with this country's sworn enemies.

What could have moved an American administration to pull such a trick? There's always a high-minded rationale for such a base maneuver. Ronald Reagan, if Gentle Reader will recall, did it to rescue Americans held by Tehran in his ill-considered arms-for-hostages deal. And yet top officials of the Obama administration swore up, down and sideways that no such deal was in the works.


When questioned about granting the Iranian regime access to American markets, they never revealed that such a license had already been granted a couple of months before. "The Obama administration misled the American people because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran," explained U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, and not all the false assurances from that administration could make up for what it was actually doing behind the scenes.

And yet shortly after this atrocious deal was made in July 2015, our then secretary of the treasury, Jack Lew, testified that even if Iran was getting some relief from American sanctions, it "will continue to be denied access to the (U.S.) financial and commercial market."

And a month later, one of his chief deputies, Adam Szubin, swore that, despite this done deal, "Iran will not be able to open bank accounts with U.S. banks, nor will Iran be able to access the U.S. banking sector, even for that momentary transaction to, what we call, dollarize a foreign payment."

Ah, those were the days, our friends and readers. Some of us thought they would never end. But they did, and to pretend otherwise would be as false as a three-dollar bill.

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Paul Greenberg is the Pulitzer-winning editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

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