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October 20, 2016 10:32 pm

Report: Obama Administration Refusing to Give Congress Info on Updated Treasury Guidelines That Eased Iran Sanctions

avatar by Barney Breen-Portnoy

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The US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The US Capitol building in Washington, D.C. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

The Obama administration is refusing to give Congress information about updated Treasury Department guidelines issued earlier this month that allow greater Iranian access to the US dollar, The Weekly Standard reported on Wednesday.

The guidelines include a provision that lifts a ban on foreign transactions with Iranian companies controlled by sanctioned individuals or groups.

According to The Weekly Standard report, the Obama administration has responded to congressional inquiries about the matter with “blanket declarations that the guidelines contain nothing new.”

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A Treasury Department letter sent to Senate Banking Committee chairman Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) — which was seen by The Weekly Standard — accused critics of having “mischaracterized” the guidelines. However, the report noted, the letter “did not address a range of specifics about the updates.”

“If [the letter’s] intent was to clarify and guide, it appears to have failed,” The Weekly Standard quoted Senator Shelby’s office as saying.

A source familiar with the issue was quoted as telling The Weekly Standard that “all the administration will do is keep repeating that there’s nothing new here. Meanwhile the Iranians have begun crowing that banks have to give them dollars and do business with them specifically because of the new Treasury language.”

As reported by The Algemeiner, a recent American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) memo said the Treasury Department’s move “opened the door to business with Iran’s leading terrorist group — the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”

Furthermore, the AIPAC memo stated, the new guidelines were part of a “pattern of undeserved concessions to Tehran as it simultaneously escalates its terrorist activities, ballistic missile tests, and human rights violations.”

“Any long-term success of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) depends on Iran understanding that any violation will lead to swift, certain response,” AIPAC said. “Undeserved concessions going beyond the JCPOA only reinforce Tehran’s propensity to violate its international obligations and ultimately undermine the JCPOA itself.”

“Congress and the president must take corrective steps now and in January to stop undeserved concessions to Iran and hold Tehran accountable,” the memo emphasized.

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