President Donald Trump claims the Obama administration offered U.S. citizenship to thousands of Iranians, including the families of certain government employees, during the negotiations on the Iran nuclear deal.
“Just out that the Obama Administration granted citizenship, during the terrible Iran Deal negotiation, to 2,500 Iranians – including to government officials,” he tweeted Tuesday, adding, “How big (and bad) is that?”
The president, who announced U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran deal) in May, appears to be referencing a Fox News story citing a recent report from Iran’s semi-official Far News agency.
“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,” Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour, the conservative head of the Iranian parliament’s nuclear committee and a member of the national security and foreign policy committees, revealed recently, according to Far News. He explained that the Obama administration sought to curry favor with senior Iranian officials aligned with President Hassan Rouhani.
“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,” Zolnour, who is close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, further arguing that “It should be stated exactly which children of which authorities live in the United States and have received citizenship or residency.”
Fox noted that is unclear whether the Iranian politician meant citizenship or legal permanent resident (green card) status.
In 2015, the year the Iran nuclear deal was signed, the U.S. awarded green cards to 13,114 Iranians, and another 13,298 received green cards the following year, according to Department of Homeland Security data. Another 10,344 Iranians were naturalized in 2015, while 9,507 were granted citizenship in 2016.
If true, this would represent another concession by the Obama administration during negotiations for the Iran nuclear deal.
A Senate report released in June alleged that the Obama administration secretly allowed Iran to access the U.S. financial system to convert assets to U.S. dollars, despite repeated assurances that it would not permit such transactions. (RELATED: Obama Administration Allegedly Let Iran Access US Financial System Because They Were ‘Desperate To Get A Deal’)
There are also longstanding concerns about the $1.7 billion payment to Iran that was portrayed by the administration as a legal settlement but coincided with the release of American prisoners, leading many observers to call it a ransom.
The Iranian politician’s comments are questionable, though. Fox News analyst and former Obama State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf said his comments sound like “totally made up BS.”