The Iran Nuclear Deal Keeps Changing - Eli Lake
Like most of Washington, I was under the impression that the nuclear negotiations with Iran ended in July. That turns out to have been wrong. While it's true that the Iranians have disposed of nuclear material, modified sites and allowed more monitoring, they also keep haggling over the terms.
Now the U.S. is considering a rule change to allow some Iranian businesses to use offshore financial institutions to access U.S. dollars in currency trades. When the White House sold the deal to Congress, senior Treasury officials promised the nuclear agreement would not allow such dollar transactions, since it only lifted nuclear-related sanctions on Iran, but kept in place other sanctions to punish the country's support for terrorism, human rights abuses and its ballistic missile program.
Democratic House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer said:
"The Administration had indicated that there would be no further concessions beyond those specifically negotiated and briefed to Congress. I do not support granting Iran any new relief without a corresponding concession."
The Obama administration has signaled that it is about to make an additional and unexpected concession to Iran that significantly weakens remaining U.S. leverage: giving Iran backdoor access to financial transactions in dollars. Congress is crying foul, asserting that such dollar access was not included in the original deal and constitutes a gift to Iran that should not be given without additional Iranian concessions. When selling the agreement to Congress, Acting Undersecretary of the Treasury Adam Szubin assured lawmakers on September 17, 2015, that "no Iranian banks can access the U.S. financial system."