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Friday, September 9, 2016
Iran may have received as much as $33 billion in cash and gold
Between 2014 and 2016, Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash and gold payments from the U.S. government. This despite the fact that sanctions were fully in place until January of this year.
The source of this information is Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
Between January 2014 and July 2015, when the Obama administration was hammering out the final details of the nuclear accord, Iran was paid $700 million every month from funds that had previously been frozen by U.S. sanctions.
A total of $11.9 billion was ultimately paid to Iran, but the details surrounding these payments remain shrouded in mystery, according to Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.
In total, "Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals," Dubowitz disclosed.
New questions about these payments are emerging following confirmation from top Obama administration officials on Thursday that it was forced to pay Iran $1.7 billion in cash prior to the release of several U.S. hostages earlier this year. The administration insisted that cash had to be used for this payment.
Top administration officials were adamant that the cash payments were the best way to ensure that Iran got immediate access to this money due to its ongoing difficulty accessing international funds still sanctioned by the West.
Lawmakers and others are now pressing the administration to disclose how a slew of other payments to Iran were made in the years leading up to the final nuclear accord.
"In July, the Associated Press cited U.S. officials who estimated that Iran 'brought home less than $20 billion.' Were these funds repatriated to Tehran in cash or in gold and precious metals? Through the formal financial system? Or through some combination?" Dubowitz asked in his testimony before the House Financial Services Committee.
"The administration should also clarify if the $20 billion dollars is inclusive of the $11.9 billion in [Joint Plan of Action] funds, or if the $20 billion was in addition to the $11.9 billion," he said. "Either way, it is important to understand how funds were sent. The worst-case scenario here is that Iran may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals."
At least some of this money was likely sent in cash and other assets, according to Dubowitz.
In one context, it appears that the United States government bribed Iran to negotiate the nuclear deal – cash in exchange for their seat at the table. What makes these transactions even more heinous is that the sanctions, despite being weak and full of holes, were actually dragging down the Iranian economy. No modern nation-state can survive long without access to international banking outlets. The billions that Obama sent to Iran before the sanctions were lifted gave Iran a source of hard currency, making the cash even more valuable than its face value.
The question that should be uppermost on our minds is, did the U.S. government illegally supply Iran with cash? Were laws broken?
The amount of intrigue and secrecy surrounding our recent relations with Iran needs to be investigated so that the whole rotten story can be told.