The Obama administration on Monday denied reports that it is considering a plan to grant Iran unprecedented access to the U.S. dollar and American financial markets but left open the possibility that the Islamic Republic may be able to access the U.S. system via foreign banks.
State Department Spokesman Mark Toner told reporters that the Obama administration was "not planning to grant Iran access to the U.S. financial system," but expressed uncertainty as to whether the comprehensive nuclear agreement permits Iran access to U.S. currency through foreign banks.
"I’d have to look back and see if it was in the original text," Toner said. "I don’t recall it [having been in the deal text]."
The administration's denial comes amid multiple reports claiming that officials are considering a range of new concessions to Iran that expand beyond the purview of the nuclear deal. The Washington Free Beacon reported early Monday that lawmakers in Congress have launched an investigation into claims that the administration misled lawmakers about the deal last summer.
Toner declined to say whether administration officials mentioned such indirect access to the U.S. dollar in congressional testimony before the deal was implemented.
He was also unsure about a shift in rhetoric by the administration with regards to Iran's ballistic missile program. The administration had originally called Iran's ballistic missile tests a violation of the deal. However, in recent days, officials shifted course, claiming that the tests are only "inconsistent" with United Nations resolutions governing the nuclear deal.
"I apologize," Toner said when pressed on the issue. "They were found to be inconsistent with, again, a separate piece of the JCPOA," or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
"It is very parsed and diplomatic language," he said.
He would not say why the administration made this distinction, but insisted that it would continue to take action in response to Iran’s "bad behavior," as was the case "with the recent [missile] tests."