Sen. Ben Sasse is seeking answers from President Barack Obama about a pair of wire transfer payments from the U.S. to Iran that seemingly undercut the explanation he gave for a cash payment to the Islamic republic last January.
Sasse’s letter comes on the heels of a POLITICO report in which the Treasury Department confirmed that the U.S. made two separate wire transfer payments, one in July 2015 and another in April 2016, to Iran. The 2015 wire transfer in particular contradicts the president’s explanation of a $400 million payment to Iran last January, which Obama said had to be delivered in cash “precisely because we are so strict in maintaining sanctions and we do not have a banking relationship with Iran that we couldn’t send them a check and we could not wire the money.”
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The Treasury Department spokesman declined to offer an explanation as to why the July 2015 wire transfer was possible under U.S. sanctions against Iran while the January 2016 payment was impossible.
“These wire transfers, Mr. President, seemingly contradict what you have previously told the American people,” Sasse (R-Neb.) wrote in his letter to the president.
In his letter to the president, Sasse asks Obama how many wire transfer payments to Iran the U.S. government has made any how many payments it has made in cash.
He also asks, among other questions, to which sanctions was Obama referring when he said at his Aug. 4 press conference that a wire transfer payment to Iran would have been impossible.