The Obama administration is taking steps to aid and please Iran far beyond U.S. commitments under last summer’s nuclear accord, according to experts, who warned Tuesday during testimony on Capitol Hill that the White House is becoming "dangerously close to becoming Iran’s trade promotion and business development authority."
The Obama administration’s efforts to boost Iran’s economy and resurrect its financial sector are not required under the comprehensive nuclear agreement, yet the White House is undertaking this role to soothe relations with the Islamic Republic, nuclear experts told the Senate Banking Committee.
Iran continues to threaten to walk away from the nuclear deal unless the U.S. administration agrees to further concessions beyond the deal, sparking accusations that Iran is effectively "blackmailing" the White House, according to sources who spoke to the Washington Free Beacon.
Since the nuclear deal was implemented, "the Obama administration has missed the opportunity to push back against Iran’s legitimization campaign," according to written testimony submitted to the Senate committee by Mark Dubowitz, executive director of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. "Instead of insisting on an end to Iran’s continuing malign activities, the administration is now dangerously close to becoming Iran’s trade promotion and business development authority."
The administration’s actions "go beyond" its commitments under the nuclear deal, according to Dubowitz.
The Obama administration has made further concessions to Iran on several key fronts since finalizing the deal, including on ballistic missile testing and access to the U.S. dollar.
The administration’s continued concessions to Iran have sparked congressional investigations and accusations that Congress and the American people were intentionally misled about the contents of the agreement.
The White House has also pursued an aggressive push to force U.S. states to drop sanctions and divestment campaigns targeting Iran. While the nuclear deal requires the administration to encourage such behavior, some have questioned the White House tactics, which have been described as bullying.
"The administration’s actions to date raise serious questions," Dubowitz said. "Will the White House try to force individual states to lift their divestment measures, even as the termination criteria for the legislation have not been met? Congress should pay particular attention to any actions by the federal government that go beyond simply informing states and local authorities about the nuclear deal."
In another instance of the administration going beyond its commitments under the nuclear deal, senior officials, including Secretary of State John Kerry, have begun touring Europe to encourage business with Iran.
The nuclear deal requires the United States to not negatively interfere with legal Iranian business pursuits. However, it does not require the administration to advocate internationally on the regime’s behalf, according to Dubowitz.
"There is a big difference, however, between not interfering with the normalization of trade and commercial relations and actively advocating for banks and companies to enter the Iranian market," he said in his testimony.
Omri Ceren, managing director of The Israel Project, which has worked closely with Congress on the Iran issue, told the Free Beacon that the administration is expected to make further concessions to Iran.
"No one is really surprised that the Iranians are blackmailing the United States for ever-more concessions," Ceren said. "That was inevitable."
"What's striking, even to policy analysts who closely track the Iran debate, is how no one on any side is bothering to keep up pretenses," he added. "The Iranians threatened to walk away from the nuclear deal unless they got more relief, and so Secretary Kerry and his colleagues launched global tours to drum up business for Tehran, even though U.S. law forbids Americans from facilitating overseas transactions for Iran."