Report: Iran got $1.4 billion in cash, gold before nuclear deal took effect
Iran has received roughly $10 billion in shipments of cash and gold since 2013 thanks to the sanctions relief that was included in the nuclear deal struck last year.
Those payments included a previously-unreported payment of $1.4 billion that was shipped to Iran in the period between when the agreement was finalized and when it took effect, the Wall Street Journal reported Friday.
Critics have questioned the wisdom of giving Iran such enormous sums of liquid funds, arguing that Tehran, a state sponsor of terrorism and financial backer of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, could easily funnel the money earned from sanctions relief into unsavory causes.
But the Obama administration has repeatedly defended the controversial elements of the nuclear deal it championed as necessary to the prevention of a nuclear Iran.
The agreement, finalized in July 2015, permitted Iran to collect more than $100 billion in financial relief from the sanctions imposed by the U.S. and others. Because the Middle Eastern nation is barred from accessing revenue from the sale of its oil through traditional banks, Iran has secured much of its $10 billion through currency or gold bars.
The complicated process occurs when the U.S. signs a waiver for countries where Iranian oil is sold that allows them to wire the profits to a second country in the Middle East, such as Oman. There, the oil money is converted into gold or hard cash.
The White House mandated that the currency shipped to Iran can never be U.S. dollars, the Journal reported.
News of the cash and gold payments comes just a few months after the Journal exposed the exchange of $400 million for the release of four American hostages, which occurred in January.
While the Obama administration argued the payment, which arrived in Tehran on wood pallets stacked with euros and Swiss francs, was part of an unrelated effort to settle a decades-old debt, critics characterized the exchange and its timing as a ransom payment.