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Obama Threatens to Veto Bill on Iranian Leaders’ Finances | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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First Lady Michelle Obama and President Barack Obama arrive at The White House after attending the UN General Assembly in New York September 21, 2016 in Washington, DC. / AFP PHOTO / ZACH GIBSON

Washington-The White House issued on Wednesday a veto threat of a congressional bill that would force the U.S. to disclose financial information on top Iranian officials.

The White House said President Barack Obama would veto the congressional measures to reveal the assets of Iran’s leaders, including Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the president and a raft of individuals linked to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, if the bill came to his desk.

The bill requires the U.S. government to publicly report all assets held by some of Iran’s highest leaders and to describe how these assets are acquired and used.

But the Obama administration said in a letter to Congress that “rather than preventing terrorist financing and money laundering, this bill would incentivize those involved to make their financial dealings less transparent.”

It also warned that the bill would have a negative impact on the nuclear agreement talks and pave way for Iran’s non-compliance with the deal.

The bill “would take critical resources away from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s important work to identify Iranian entities engaged in sanctionable conduct.”

“One of our best tools for impeding destabilizing Iranian activities has been to identify Iranian companies” that are controlled by the IRGC to make sure their assets are blocked, it said.

The statement stressed that although the White House would veto the bill, “the administration remains clear-eyed regarding Iran’s support for terrorism, its ballistic missile program, human rights abuses, and destabilizing activity in the region.”

Congressman Jeb Hensarling said, however, that the bill is “important for us to clearly understand the assets” held by Iranian officials.

“Iran is identified as both the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and a country of ‘primary concern’ for money laundering by the United States,” he said. “It is also characterized by high levels of official corruption.”