The Corrupting effects of the very bad deal with Iran
By Rachel Ehrenfeld
Friday, August 5th, 2016 @ 8:52PM
Nothing seems to deter the administration’s determination to satisfy Iran’s Supreme Leader. Clearly, the U.S. cannot hold Iran accountable for a sham deal presented by Obama, which Iran did not sign.
At a press conference in Argentina, on August 4, Secretary Kerry in his usual manner spoke out of both sides of his mouth:
Kerry, like others in the administration, claimed the cash payment of $400 million to Iran was not ransom money and had nothing to do with the release of hostages. The Sec. claimed the decision to unfreeze Iran’s $400 million and the payment in cash, was made “by a separate group on a separate track” from the team which negotiated the release of the hostages. This, however, contradicts his claim that the decision was made at that time because “the nuclear deal [was] done” and the prisoners were released. This was “the time was right” to make the payment. Besides, “the settlement for an immediate cash payout…actually saved the American taxpayer potentially billions of dollars,” he said. But Kerry neglected to mention that the
$400 million cash payment was part of a $1.7 billion settlement on the interest claimed by Iran for a 1979 failed arms deal.
But why cash? The Wall Street Journal quoted an official saying, “Sometimes the Iranians want cash because it’s so hard for them to access things in the international financial system.” “Sometimes”? How many times? What happened to the remaining $1.3 billion? Was that money also delivered in the middle of the night in European currency to Iran? Since the whole affair was done in secret, how do we know the cash was not in unmarked U.S. dollars?
The cash payment to Iran, according to Kerry and the President, represents “a policy of common sense to get a better deal and had nothing to do with the Iran nuclear deal.” Why not? Why was the release of the hostages not made a condition of giving the mullahs more than $150 billion along other concessions?
As if this was not enough, the Obama administration decided to circumvent U.S. anti-money laundering laws to help Iran’s economy. Since the conclusion of the Iran-deal, Sec. Kerry has been making the rounds urging European and other financial institutions to do business with Iran. This despite the fact that it is illegal for Americans because the U.S. sanctions are still in place due to Iran’s sponsorship of international terrorism.
Kerry has been at it more vigorously following Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s repeated complaints that keeping sanctions on Iranian banks prevents them from accessing the international financial systems. When asked about the secret transfer of unmarked European currencies in an unmarked plane, under the cover darkness, he explained that the $400 million cash payment “happened at a time where Iran needed money and wanted money (emphasis added) because the banking systems were closed to Iran.“
They remain closed because most private financial institutions refuse to take the risk of doing business with Iran, which according to the annual Financial Action Task Force (FATF) rating – for the third consecutive year – tops 149 countries in money laundering and is the highest-risk to do business with.
Judging the way the Iranians are conducting themselves, this is unlikely to change anytime soon. Instead, as with those who lie down with dogs, the Obama administration, especially after the secret cash to Iran, has been showing the signs it has been infested with fleas that cause money laundering and terrorist financing disorders.
At first, the administration’s planned to allow Iran direct access to the U.S. banking system. But Democrat and Republican lawmakers voiced strong objection causing the President to walk back his original plan. Instead, he instructed to change the venue; use European banks to convert U.S. dollars for transfer to Iran, though nothing was said about how the laundered money would reach Iran.
There were reports of Justice Department officials worried the cash payment would be perceived by Iran as ransom, but there was no one seemed concerned with the American public’s reaction. After all, under the Obama administration, Americans have been witnessing, and many have gotten accustomed to the president’s disregard to laws governing his own country.
The same is expected if Democratic presidential nominee and former State Secretary Hillary Clinton, is elected president.
Until November 20, 2008, then Senator Hillary Clinton ardently opposed direct talks with the terrorist Republic of Iran, favored increased sanctions and stated that any attempt of direct talks with Iran, is “irresponsible and frankly naïve.” But to become Obama’s Secretary of State she changed her tune and agreed to “low-level talks” with Iran.
On January 1, 2009, Forbes published my Clinton’s Iranian Connection, reporting that on Dec. 19, 2008, at 2 pm, the New York-based Iranian government’s Alavi Foundation, which reported directly” to the Supreme Leader, contributed between $25,000 and $50,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation.
Earlier that very same day, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted the president of the Alavi Foundation, Farshid Jahedi, “on a charge of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying documents required to be produced under a grand jury subpoena concerning the Alavi Foundation’s relationship with Bank Melli Iran and the ownership of a Manhattan office building.”
Two days before Alavi’s contribution to Clinton, the Treasury Department designated Alavi’s partner, the New York-based ASSA Corp., as a terrorist entity, and the New York Southern District’s attorney forfeited 40% of its assets. According to the Treasury Department, “Assa … continued to provide services to Bank Melli by maintaining Melli’s interest in 650 Fifth Avenue Co. and transferring income from 650 Fifth Avenue Co. to Bank Melli.” Thus, the Iranian government through ASSA and the Alavi Foundation owned 650 Fifth Avenue Co.
According to the U.S. Attorney, “The Alavi Foundation has been providing numerous services to the Iranian Government, including managing the [650 Fifth Ave.] building for the Iranian Government, running a charitable organization for the Iranian Government, and transferring funds from 650 Fifth Avenue Company to Bank Melli Iran (“Bank Melli”), a bank wholly owned and controlled by the Government of Iran”, which was designated as terrorist on June 29, 2005.
The Alavi December 18, 2008’s donation was not the first the Clinton Foundation accepted from this Iranian front organization. According to Alavi’s 2006 tax returns (page 65), it gave the Clinton Foundation $30,000.
Moreover, the very same Alavi Foundation was also known for contributing, at least, $1.4 million to Blind Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman’s Brooklyn mosque between 1987 to 1989.
Shortly after Forbes published my expose of the December 2008 Alavi contribution to the Clinton Foundation, Matt McKenna, a spokesman for both the former president and the William J. Clinton Foundation called me angrily to protest but did not deny the contribution.
McKenna argued: “the Alavi Foundation donated the money to a tsunami relief fund set up by Clinton in 2005. The Clinton Foundation has no plans to return it.”
It was well-known that the Alavi Foundation reported directly to the Ayatollah. So while Alavi’s contributions to the Clinton Foundation were probably legal at that time, they were certainly malodorous. Seemingly there is no payoff malodorous enough for the faint-hearted Clintons.
So there was little surprise to hear Hillary claiming she helped bring Iran to the negotiating table when Obama took office in 2009. She boasts “I’m proud that we put a lid on Iran’s nuclear program without firing a single shot.” Not an American shot. But the administration cannot claim the same about Iran. In fact, President Obama and his very bad deal-maker, Sec. Kerry acknowledged Iran would be using the money to fund international terrorism and its efforts to further its nuclear agenda.
Iran has not disappointed.