by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Obama administration officials are orchestrating an international campaign to encourage businesses and governments to reengage in the Iranian marketplace, prompting accusations from leading members of Congress that the White House is behaving as the Islamic Republic’s top global “lobbying shop,” according to conversations with lawmakers and multiple sources tracking the issue.
The administration’s efforts on Iran’s behalf—which go far beyond the requirements under last summer’s nuclear agreement—are said to have pressured the world’s foremost financial task force to reduce counter-terror efforts impacting Iran, despite Tehran’s role as the globe’s top exporter of terrorism.
The Financial Action Task Force’s decision coincides with multiple efforts, both public and private, by top U.S. officials to promote increased international trade with Iran. The pro-Iran effort, which is being helmed by the State Department, has caused internal rifts in the Obama administration among top officials who object to the effort.
Top lawmakers are now going on the offensive to combat these efforts following a decision late last week by the FATF, an intergovernmental body that counters money laundering, to roll back measures blocking business with Iran.
The FATF’s decision is being viewed as a coup for Iran and has been celebrated by administration supporters who helped lobby for the nuclear accord. Congressional opponents of the nuclear deal told the Washington Free Beacon that the administration is wrongly using the deal as an excuse to lobby on Iran’s behalf.