A senior Iranian cleric and member of parliament has just dropped a bombshell.
He is claiming that the Obama administration, as part of negotiating during the Iran Deal, granted U.S. citizenship to 2500 Iranians including family members of government officials.
From Fox News:
Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour, who is chairman of Iran’s parliamentary nuclear committee and a member of its national security and foreign affairs committee, made the allegations during an interview with the country’s Etemad newspaper, cited by the country’s Fars News agency.
He claimed it was done as a favor to senior Iranian officials linked to President Hassan Rouhani, and he alleged the move sparked a competition among Iranian officials over whose children would benefit from the scheme.
Several children of current and former Iranian officials live in the United States, including Ali Fereydoun, whose father is brother and special aide of President Hassan Rouhan, and Fatemeh Ardeshir Larijani, whose father Ali Larijani is speaker of parliament.
While Zolnour did not mention any names, he obviously was trying to make a political point.
“When Obama, during the negotiations about the JCPOA, decided to do a favor to these men, he granted citizenship to 2,500 Iranians and some officials started a competition over whose children could be part of these 2,500 Iranians,” he claimed.
“If today these Iranians get deported from America, it will become clear who is complicit and sells the national interest like he is selling candies to America.”
The conservative Zolnour, who is in Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s inner circle, added: “It should be stated exactly which children of which authorities live in the United States and have received citizenship or residency.”
He said while some were studying in the U.S. others were working in the U.S. “against our national interests.”
It’s not clear who he’s talking about and whether he’s confusing a green card with citizenship. And one has to take his political objective into account.
But it obviously raises a concerning question.
There have been so many things hidden from the public about the Iran Deal if this was one more thing given up in bribe, it wouldn’t be hard to believe.
And it shouldn’t be hard to track this down with a little government and Congressional investigation.
The problem, of course, too many Obama holdovers in places like the State Department so you can’t get a straight answer.
Asked about the cleric’s claim, a State Department spokesperson said: “We’re not going to comment on every statement by an Iranian official.”
Fox News analyst and former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf was dubious of the Iranian official’s allegation. “This sounds like totally made up BS,” she said.
The Department of Homeland Security declined to comment. A representative for Obama Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson also could not be reached for comment.
This would certainly anger Republicans, especially in the wake of the pallets of cash, sanctions relief and giving access to the U.S. financial system that has already been revealed about the deal.
And in Iran, they could fuel resentment toward Tehran’s elite.
“Many ordinary Iranians are surprised and feel betrayed that children of the regime officials live and work in the U.S.,” Saeed Ghasseminejad, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a Washington-based research institute, told Fox News. “The regime officials chant death to America but send their children to the U.S., away from the hell they have created in Iran over the past four decades.”
Ghasseminejad said some Iranians have called for their deportation from America: “Iranians don’t understand why the U.S. government allows the offspring of the regime officials to live in the U.S., while the U.S. has introduced a travel ban for ordinary Iranian citizens and many Americans are imprisoned in Iran. That is why many Iranians on social media have been urging the U.S. government to deport the children of the regime officials.”
The protests have hit the country hard as the economy has continued to crater. The Iran Deal was expected to help the country but the people in the street didn’t feel the difference. And now pulling out of the Iran Deal has facilitated a drop in the value of the rial against the dollar. And as a result of pulling out of the deal, international firms and oil companies have dropped deals with Iran.
There’s a lot of jockeying for power behind the scenes here.
But it could be interesting if it’s the failure of the Iran Deal that actually deals the final blow to the Islamists and it brings the secularists back.