U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk today met with Treasury Secretary-designate Jack Lew to discuss his nomination. According to Kirk, he and Lew had a positive discussion on a range of issues with a particular focus on Iran sanctions.
“While I have serious concerns about the administration’s plan to increase spending and raise taxes even higher, Jack Lew is a smart, capable and dedicated public servant who will faithfully execute the office of Secretary of the Treasury,” Sen. Kirk said after the meeting. “I appreciate Mr. Lew’s commitment to take a very close look at continued Iranian access to the European Central Bank’s Target2 settlement platform and I look forward to supporting his nomination.”
Last night, Kirk, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and 34 other senators, sent a letter to the President of the European Council urging the European Union (EU) to close a significant loophole in US-EU sanctions against Iran by severing Iran’s ability to access foreign-held euros through the European Central Bank's (ECB) Target2 settlement platform. In their letter, the senators explained how Iran is able to circumvent current sanctions by using euro conversions to facilitate its imports, thereby freeing up funds to engage in illicit activities and further its goals to develop a nuclear weapon. During today’s meeting, Sen. Kirk raised the Target2 issue with Secretary-designate Lew who in turn promised to review the issue closely in the weeks ahead.