In The Money

Report: Obama Administration Secretly Sought to Let Iran Tap Dollars

The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran brief access to the U.S. financial system despite repeatedly telling Congress it had no plans to do so, according to an investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday. The move, which would have sidestepped sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, 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. The Treasury Department issued the license in February 2016, which was never previously disclosed, but the effort was scuppered because American banks refused to participate. The Obama administration approached two U.S. banks to facilitate the deal, the report said, but both refused, saying doing business with Iran would risk their reputations. "The Obama administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran," said Sen. Rob Portman, subcommittee chairman.