Sullivan Bill Blocks Iran’s Access to U.S. Financial System

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Dan Sullivan (R-AK) has introduced S. 2757, the Iran Financial System Access Limitation Act of 2016, legislation that would prohibit Iran from accessing the U.S. financial system until Iran is no longer designated as a state sponsor of terrorism. The bill comes amidst reports that the Obama Administration’s Department of Treasury is contemplating giving Iranian banks access to U.S. dollars through offshore “clearing houses,” a practice which is currently prohibited.

“Giving Iran, the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, access to the most stable and powerful currency in the world is unacceptable,” said Senator Sullivan. “Efforts by the Obama Administration to circumvent current law is a backdoor way to relieve sanctions, giving the Iranian regime more purchasing power. Furthermore, it enables Iran to continue its hegemonic designs in the Middle East and terrorist activities around the world. For the sake of U.S. national security and the global fight against terrorism, Congress must work immediately to stop the Administration’s efforts right in its tracks.”


  • A nuclear capable Iran poses a direct threat to the United States and its allies around the world. Nothing in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action obligates the United States to lift financial sanctions with respect to Iran, and in fact, unilateral sanctions have proven effective in achieving foreign policy aims of the United States. 
  • Iran has violated United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1929 (2010) and 2231 (2015), which form the basis of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
  • The goal of imposing economic sanctions with respect to Iran was to penalize Iran for its pursuit of nuclear weapons for illicit purposes.
  • In spite of the fact that Iran has violated the resolutions and destroyed the intent of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, President Obama has voluntarily paid the Government of Iran $1.7 billion in a settlement of a claim before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.
  • After giving the Government of Iran further access to global assets, President Obama has now indicated that he is prepared to give Iran access to United States dollars. Continuing his governance by executive fiat, President Obama is planning to give Iran access to U.S. dollars in a manner that evades review by Congress.
  • President Obama continues to let Iran dictate the interpretation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to the people of the United States.
  • Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew said to the Senate last year that, “Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York” and that Iranian banks will not “hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks.” 
  • Granting access to the United States dollar will strengthen the access of Iran to the global financial system, increase the ability of Iran to conduct illicit transactions in weapons trade, and decrease the minor amount of leverage retained by the United States Government to contain the nuclear ambitions of Iran.