Report: Obama sought to sidestep Iran sanctions in 2016

All of this investigation into what Donald Trump was up to in 2016 is certainly revealing some snakes as the various rocks are kicked over. Unfortunately for Democrats, not all of the uncovered secrets point fingers in the direction they were hoping. The latest revelation, showing up in an Associated Press report this morning, actually has to do with the hidden wrangling that went on in the Obama administration as they sought to hold the wildly unpopular Iran deal together. In this case, it looks like Team Obama sought to sidestep some of the sanctions and allow Iran to do some currency trading to free up cash which they weren’t supposed to be able to access. The plan may not have worked, but the report alleges that the White House was definitely making the effort.

The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran access — albeit briefly — to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so.

An investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday sheds light on the delicate balance the Obama administration sought to strike after the deal, as it worked to ensure Iran received its promised benefits without playing into the hands of the deal’s opponents. Amid a tense political climate, Iran hawks in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere argued that the United States was giving far too much to Tehran and that the windfall would be used to fund extremism and other troubling Iranian activity.

The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that under President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department issued a license in February 2016, never previously disclosed, that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars.

This wasn’t just some discussion taking place in the Oval Office or a crazy idea they were kicking around. Obama actually issued the license to allow Iran to engage in the currency trading (without telling anyone) and was ready to let them do it. The only reason it didn’t work was that the banks approached by the Iranians were afraid they would be found in violation of the sanctions and refused to put the currency exchange through. The offer was later withdrawn.

This seems to be one more example of a pattern of hidden maneuvers by Obama and John Kerry to salvage a deal which faced tremendous opposition at home and was still failing to satisfy Iran. You may recall last December when we learned that Obama had drained all resources from Operation Casandra, a plan to shut down a Hezbollah cocaine smuggling operation for fear of “rocking the boat” with Tehran and upsetting the nuclear deal. Just how many of these “side arrangements” were going on that the American people never learned about so they could get the steaming pile of Iranian diplomacy over the finish line?

Of course, domestic objections to the Iran deal aren’t shared by all of our allies in the current stage of the game. Now that Trump has spiked the plan, our “friends” in Europe are lining up to demand they not be held accountable for dealing with the Iranians in violation of fresh sanctions. (Yahoo News)

France, Britain, Germany and the EU on Wednesday sent the United States a joint official request for their companies to be exempt from punitive measures resulting from fresh US sanctions on Iran.

“As allies, we expect that the United States will refrain from taking action to harm Europe’s security interests,” said the letter to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said the three countries and the EU were asking the US “to exempt European businesses doing legitimate trade in Iran from all extraterritorial American sanctions”.

Our allies’ distaste for President Trump’s foreign policy moves has led them to continually demand that the U.S. respect our old alliances. It seems that such demands are a one-way street these days since they don’t want to stand with us in return. I suppose it’s only in times of stress and duress that you find out who your real friends are.