The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was the result of the Iranian regime being brought to the negotiation table due to sanctions, particularly the ones from the U.S. Now, as the death-knell is being heralded on the JCPOA, actions of the Obama administration are coming to light due to accusations from Iranian officials. In particular, the administration did things behind the scenes as part of its efforts to reach an agreement with the regime.
One of these efforts meant to soften the regime was granting citizenship to 2,500 Iranians, including family members of Iranian regime officials.
This action came to light after 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 an Iranian newspaper. He also claimed it was a favor to senior officials linked to Iranian President Rouhani and it sparked a competition about which officials’ children would benefit.
His accusation appears to be part of an internal war between factors within the regime regarding loyalty to Iran’s Supreme Leader. It is unclear of Zolnour’s accusations actually refers to green cards or citizenship. There is also no suggestion that anyone received citizenship in the wake of the JCPOA.
Representatives from the U.S. declined to comment on the accusations, including representatives for those that were serving in the Obama administration at the time. However, the cleric’s claim could fuel Republican complaints about concessions made by the Obama administration during that period, including a $1.7 billion payment supposedly tied to a legal settlement that coincided with the release of American prisoners in 2016.
In Iran, the accusations could serve as fuel against the Iranian elite.
“Many ordinary Iranians are surprised and feel betrayed that children of the regime officials live and work in the U.S.,” said Saeed Ghasseminejad, a research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. “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.”
The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) also spoke out against the actions of the Obama administration, calling it appeasement of the regime, which gave them the funds to spread fundamentalism throughout the region. The actions of the Trump administration have been supported by the NCRI, which they see as crucial for supporting the Iranian people and their desire for regime change.