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Minister Denies Iran Officials Received U.S. Residency During Obama

(LtoR) Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan, Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi, and Foreign Minister Mohammadjavad Zarif. December 2016

Iran's Intelligence Minister has denied the claim that the United States granted green cards to 2,500 Iranian officials during nuclear talks, saying such a claim is “unfounded, invalid, and a lie spread by anti-revolutionary TV channels.”

He was answering question from MPs in the Iranian parliament on Tuesday, December 18.

Last July, a mid-ranking Shi'ite cleric and the chairman of the Nuclear Subcommittee of the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in parliament, Mojtaba Zonnour, had claimed that on the sidelines of JCPOA U.S. President Barack Obama ordered 2,500 green cards issued for Iranians to curry favor with Tehran's negotiating team.

Later, Jeff Prescott, former senior director of Obama's National Security Council, described the allegation as "absurd and entirely false."

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, for his part, also said on July 7, "Such issues have never been raised in (the nuclear) talks or on their sidelines or in any other way, not even a legitimate request like the abolition of restrictions on Iranian diplomats working at the United Nations."

Nevertheless, in a tweet directly addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump, former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad wrote on August 1, “Mr. Donald Trump; release the list of relatives of Iranian Government officials that (sic) have Green Cards and bank accounts in the United States; if you have such a list.”

In early December, NBC News reported that families of American being held in Iran have asked the Trump administration to revoke visas for relatives of prominent Iranian officials.

Then on December 11, Brian Hook U.S. Special Representative for Iran in a video message on the State Department Persian language website said that the administration is looking into the issue and added that it is the “hypocrisy” of Iranian officials that they chant “Death to America” and “they send their families to the so called ‘Great Satan’ to live and study here, using the resources of the Iranian people”.