Press Releases

Iran Should Not Be Given Access to US Financial System


Washington, April 1, 2016 -

WASHINGTON – Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) issued the following statement regarding reports the Obama Administration is working to provide terrorist-sponsoring Iran with access to the U.S. financial system or give Iran access to U.S. dollars outside the U.S. financial system:

“These reports are alarming and I can assure the Obama Administration that any effort to grant such access to the terrorist-sponsoring, human-rights-abusing, ballistic-missile-testing Islamic Republic of Iran will be met by the highest level of scrutiny from our committee.

“Just recently, the Financial Action Task Force warned it was ‘exceptionally concerned’ that Iran’s ‘failure to address the risk of terrorist financing’ poses a ‘serious threat…to the integrity of the international financial system.’ The idea that the Administration would make access to U.S. financial markets or the U.S. dollar easier for such a regime is another clear sign that the President’s nuclear deal may have been good for Iran, but it was bad for America’s security. “

Chairman Hensarling also today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew requesting “all details regarding Administration plans or efforts to enable the U.S. dollar’s use in transactions related to Iran.”

The text of the letter is below:

April 1, 2016

The Honorable Jacob Lew


U.S. Department of the Treasury

1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW

Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Secretary Lew:

I am alarmed by recent reports that the Obama Administration may be considering options to facilitate use of the U.S. dollar in transactions involving Iran. Such actions would violate the spirit, and potentially the letter, of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

When Congress debated the JCPOA last year, you testified that Iran “will continue to be denied access to the world’s largest financial and commercial market.”[1] Treasury also emphasized that “U-turn” transactions would continue to be prohibited. It is therefore troubling to learn from media reports that Treasury may seek to undo restrictions on dollar access, including through offshore clearing houses, in a way that would allow the Administration to pay lip service to the JCPOA, even as it boosts Iran’s economy and expands the country’s money laundering and terror financing capabilities. Such efforts could suggest that the Administration misled Congress when touting the nuclear deal last year.

If the Department truly intends to provide additional relief for Iran, no one from Treasury has contacted Committee staff to describe your plans. This would represent yet another instance of the Department’s disregard for congressional oversight.

I am therefore requesting that you provide the Committee by April 8, 2016 all details regarding Administration plans or efforts to enable the U.S. dollar’s use in transactions related to Iran. Your response will inform the Committee’s course of action on this matter.


Jeb Hensarling


cc: The Honorable Maxine Waters, Ranking Member

[1] Testimony of Secretary Jacob Lew before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, July 23, 2015.

Note: The Financial Action Task Force is the global standard setting body for anti-money laundering and combating the financing of terrorism. In addition, in 2015 the House Financial Services Committee established the Task Force to Investigate Terrorism Financing, which has held seven hearings to examine how the U.S. can improve efforts to choke off terrorists’ access to money.

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