Obama Admin Secretly Facilitated Iranian Ballistic Missile Program
The Obama administration misled journalists and lawmakers for more than nine months about a secret agreement to lift international sanctions on a critical funding node of Iran’s ballistic missile program, as part of a broader “ransom” package earlier this year that involved Iran freeing several U.S. hostages, according to U.S. officials and congressional sources apprised of the situation.
The administration agreed to immediately lift global restrictions on Iran’s Bank Sepah—a bank the Treasury Department described in 2007 as the “linchpin of Iran’s missile procurement”–eight years before they were to be lifted under last summer’s comprehensive nuclear agreement. U.S. officials initially described the move as a “goodwill gesture” to Iran.
The United States also agreed to provide Iran $1.7 billion in cash to release or drop charges against 21 Iranians indicted for illegally assisting Tehran. Full details of this secret agreement were kept hidden from Congress and journalists for more than nine months, multiple sources told theWashington Free Beacon.
State Department officials who spoke to the Free Beacon now say the United States “already made” the decision to drop U.S. sanctions, but declined to address multiple questions aimed at clarifying the discrepancy between past and current explanations for dropping international sanctions.
The Free Beacon first reported on these terms in January, including the dropping of international sanctions on Bank Sepah.
State Department officials told the Free Beacon at the time that the settlement with Iran, including the $1.7 billion cash award, was “not related” to “the release of the U.S. citizens from Iran.”
U.S. officials last week confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that in fact the dropping of sanctions on Bank Sepah “was part of a package of
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