Obama State Dept blocked FBI from arresting supporters of Iran nuclear program in US: Emails

EXCLUSIVE: The Obama-Biden State Department “actively interfered” to prevent the FBI from executing arrest warrants on individuals illegally in the United States who were allegedly supporting Iranian financial efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction, whistleblowers told Sens. Chuck Grassley and Ron Johnson. 

Fox News Digital obtained letters Grassley, R-Iowa, and Johnson, R-Wis., sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and Attorney General Merrick Garland on the matter. 

The Obama-Biden administration began its Joint Plan of Action, which served as the negotiating process for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran Nuclear Deal, that was signed by then-President Obama in 2015. At the time, Obama said broader sanctions would remain in place, which the administration would “continue to enforce… vigorously.”


The United States, for decades during both Republican and Democratic administrations, imposed sanctions on “Iranian individuals, companies, and organizations for involvement in nuclear proliferation, ballistic missile development, support for terrorist groups, and human rights abuses.” 

But Grassley and Johnson received unclassified and legally protected whistleblower disclosures which they say show that “while the Obama-Biden administration publicly committed to ‘preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by raising the cost of Iran’s defiance of the international community,’ then-Secretary of State John Kerry actively interfered with the Federal Bureau of Investigation executing arrest warrants on individuals in the U.S. illegally supporting Iranian efforts, including financial efforts, to develop weapons of mass destruction and its ballistic missile program.” 

The records, according to the senators, show that the Justice Department and FBI leadership, including then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch and then-FBI Director James Comey “failed to take the necessary steps to stop Kerry’s obstructive efforts against law enforcement.”

One email — an unclassified FBI email from August 25, 2017 — detailed at least eight instances connected to the Iran nuclear deal where “the FBI/DOJ/USG could have moved forward with the cases but the State Department chose to block them.” 

According to the records, in six of these instances, the FBI “lost the opportunity to arrest the main subject.” 

The email says that one of the subjects the FBI was unable to arrest was “on the Terrorism Watch List” and another “returned to Iran.” 

The email further says that the State Department “blocked” one planned FBI arrest while the subject was “mid-flight and the subject was forced to leave the US immediately upon arrival.” 

The email also claims at least two targets were arrested only after “State lifted their block…since the new [Trump] Administration took office.” 


“These warnings about the failure to arrest known Iranians subject to arrest warrants occurred as early as 2015 and was allegedly done due to political reasons,” Grassley wrote. 

A July 2015 email shows “concerns were raised about stand down orders to arrest criminal Iranians.” 

FBI official to an LA field office FBI official with subject line “HQ Support.” 

An April 28, 2016 email states: “State has been blocking FBI actions where State has had a role for approval or concurrence—visas, lure ops primarily. We have prepared a package of several cases blocked by State and have been working it up the FBI/DOJ/State chain over the past 6 months.” 

That email also noted that “DOJ was surprised by this a bit because extraditions are ministerial functions and not something State would/should block.” 

Grassley and Johnson said additional unclassified FBI emails indicate that the State Department’s alleged interference into ongoing FBI investigations became such an issue that then-AG Loretta Lynch had to discuss the matter with Secretary Kerry. 

An unclassified email from April 29, 2016, described the take-away from a meeting between then AG Lynch and Kerry: “…now is not a ‘good time’ to be requesting approvals for extraditions or lures on Iran CP cases,” the email said.

Another email from May 3, 2016, described alleged “tension” between Lynch and Kerry: “…when the PC [Principals Committee] ended, Kerry packed up his stuff and rushed out without engaging with the AG at all. The issues remain unresolved.” 


“The records provided to our office show that the Obama/Biden administration’s State Department, under the leadership of John Kerry, actively and persistently interfered with FBI operations pertaining to lawful arrests of known terrorists, members of Iranian proliferation networks, and other criminals providing material support for Iran’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” Grassley and Johnson wrote. 

Grassley and Johnson said the records “also show that DOJ and FBI leadership apparently allowed it to happen until the Trump administration altered its course.” 

Separately, a Nov. 29, 2016 email from Shell corporate to an FBI official within Comey’s office wrote: 

“It seems Trump election win having impact on doing business in Iran. We are going to sign a small deal in Iran this week ($5 million licensing agreement.) We were in talks with a Japanese bank to handle the funds, but they have recently backed off, unofficially citing coming Trump presidency. European banks feeling the same way. Small amount of money, but having a dampening effect on doing business in Iran.” 

Ex-FBI official Peter Strzok was copied on that email.

Now, Grassley and Johnson are demanding records from email archives of Kerry, now-CIA Director Bill Burns, Wendy Sherman, and now-Secretary of State Antony Blinken, by June 4. 

They are also demanding records with terms like Mohommad Javaz Zarif; the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA); the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA); Iran Nuclear Deal; Iran Proliferation/Counterproliferation; Law enforcement actions pertaining to Iranian citizens, to include visa lures, extraditions and related subject matter; and the case files for the eight cases mentioned.

The FBI and DOJ confirmed receipt of Grassley’s letter, but both declined to comment further. 

The State Department did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment. 

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