- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The White House issued a veto threat Wednesday against a House bill that would require the federal government to publicly report all assets held by Iran’s top leaders, calling the measure “onerous.”

The administration said the Iranian Leadership Asset Transparency Act wouldn’t stop Tehran from financing terrorism or laundering money, and would spur Iranian officials even more to hide their assets.

Further, the White House said the measure could be “perceived by Iran” as an effort to undermine the administration’s nuclear deal with Tehran.

“If the [nuclear agreement] were to fail on that basis, it would remove the unprecedented constraints on and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program, lead to the unraveling of the international sanctions regime against Iran, and deal a devastating blow to the credibility of America’s leadership and our commitments to our closest allies,” the White House said.

Lawmakers have been raising concerns about the administration’s $400 million cash payment to Iran in January, calling it a ransom payment to secure the release of U.S. prisoners. The White House has said the payment was the first installment of a $1.7 billion settlement of a decades-old arms deal.

The bill to be voted on this week “is vitally important for us to clearly understand the assets held by Iran’s most powerful people,” said Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, Texas Republican.

“The Islamic Republic of 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,” Mr. Hensarling said. “It is also characterized by high levels of official corruption and substantial involvement of its security forces — particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — in that nation’s business sector.”

The bill would require the Treasury secretary to develop and post online a list estimating the “funds and assets” held by senior Iranian political and military leaders, along with a description of how they acquired the assets and how those assets are employed.

The White House said the measure “could compromise intelligence sources and methods.”

“These onerous reporting requirements also would take critical resources away from the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s important work to identify Iranian entities engaged in sanctionable conduct,” the administration said.

• Dave Boyer can be reached at dboyer@washingtontimes.com.

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