Kerry claimed yesterday that a “Treasury vet” came up with his $50 billion number. That might be true; I can’t rule it out. But just six months ago, on January 27, Under Secretary of the Treasury David Cohen testified before the Senate Banking Committee that Iran has “approximately $100 billion” in frozen reserves.
It seems that the Obama administration is determined to shade the truth about its Iran deal on every front. It was disingenuous when it described the terms of the interim agreement, and it has once again been unreliable as it tries to sell the final deal to the American people. It has vastly overstated the advantages of the agreement to the United States, and in this instance appears to be underestimating its value to Iran.
It isn’t hard to discern the administration’s motive: after an initial attempt by Kerry to argue that Iran won’t be “allowed” to use its windfall (or “signing bonus,” as it is often called) to support terrorism, the administration now admits that Iran will be able to spend the money however it wants. And Iran’s rulers have made it clear that they intend to spend the windfall–some of it, anyway–to enable its extremist friends and allies to make more mischief. So Kerry now wants us to believe that the signing bonus will be “only” $50 billion-plus.
Which is a great plenty. There is also this: when you make a good deal, you don’t have to misrepresent its terms to sell it. If you have to lie about what the deal is, repeatedly, it is a good bet that you are promoting a lousy deal.