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Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, a Wisconsinite, made claims attacking Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Republican National Convention. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, a Wisconsinite, made claims attacking Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus, a Wisconsinite, made claims attacking Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Republican National Convention.

Tom Kertscher
By Tom Kertscher July 29, 2016

Iran nuclear deal was Hillary Clinton's, and it 'lined the pockets' of Iran with Americans' money?

In recent weeks, one of our most-clicked factchecks has been about an attack  Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus made on Hillary Clinton back in April 2015.

Priebus, a Wisconsinite, claimed that Clinton took "money from kings of Saudi Arabia and Morocco and Oman and Yemen." Our rating was Half True.

His phrasing could have left the impression that Clinton herself, rather than the Clinton family foundation, received the money. (And Yemen doesn’t have a monarchy and didn’t make contributions to the foundation.)

On July 21, 2016, Priebus attacked Clinton again, this time during his address to the Republican National Convention in Cleveland.

"In foreign policy, a Clinton presidency means forgetting our friends and enabling our enemies," Priebus charged. "Just look, just look at her disastrous Iran nuclear deal, which lined the pockets of the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism with your money, while abandoning our greatest ally in the Middle East, the nation of Israel."

Several days earlier in Cleveland, Priebus made one statement about the Bush family appearing at GOP conventions and another about "the facts" and "the best scenario for kids." Both were rated False by PolitiFact National.

This claim is not looking so good, either.

Terror sponsor

The Republican Party didn’t respond to our requests for information to back Priebus’ statement. But labeling Iran the "number one state sponsor of terrorism" isn’t just rhetoric. Iran has been on the State Department’s official list of state sponsors of terrorism since 1984.

And in its latest annual country report on terrorism, released in June 2016, the State Department said Iran "remained the foremost state sponsor of terrorism" in 2015.

But Priebus’ characterization of the nuclear deal with Iran, struck in July 2015 with the United States and several other nations, is deeply flawed.

Nuclear deal

The deal was aimed at making it harder for Iran to make a nuclear bomb. At the time, it was believed Iran might be two to three months away from getting a nuclear bomb. But if Iran abides by restrictions imposed by the deal, scientists say, it would take at least 12 months to build a weapon.

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In exchange for curbing its nuclear program, Iran gets access to tens of billions of dollars in assets (estimates are as high as $150 billion, but the exact amount is not known).

But the vast majority of those assets are Iran’s own money, not American cash. Those assets had been frozen as a result of sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States and other countries.

CNN noted the deal includes the State Department agreeing to pay Iran $1.7 billion to settle a 35-year-old legal dispute over a trust fund that had been frozen since Iran's revolution.

So, the nuclear deal arguably "lined the pockets" of Iran -- but almost all of it is Iran’s own money.

One more thing -- and it’s a big one -- about the timing of the deal.

Clinton has said that her work as secretary of state in putting together sanctions against Iran helped usher Iran to the negotiating table, a claim PolitiFact National rated Mostly True.

But Clinton was referring to work she did in 2009 and 2010. And she left the secretary position in February 2013.

That means Clinton was gone for 2.5 years before the nuclear deal was struck. In other words, the heavy lifting was done under the current secretary, John Kerry, although Clinton endorsed it.

And President Barack Obama had to sign off on the deal, so it belongs to him more than any secretary of state.

Our rating

Priebus said Clinton's Iran nuclear deal "lined the pockets of the world's number one state sponsor of terrorism with your money."

The United States labels Iran as the top state sponsor of terrorism.

But the deal was struck 2.5 years after Clinton left the Obama administration. And the vast majority of the tens of billions of dollars that Iran gets is not American money, but its own assets, which were frozen by the U.S. and other countries that imposed sanctions on Iran.

For a statement that contains some element of truth but ignores critical facts that would give a different impression, our rating is Mostly False.

https://www.sharethefacts.co/share/d04632ed-a487-42ae-8342-dab37119b6af

Our Sources

YouTube, video of Reince Priebus speech (4:30),

Email, Hillary Clinton campaign spokeswoman Gillian Drummond, July 22, 2016

PolitiFact National, "No, Donald Trump, we are not giving Iran $150 billion for nothing," March 17, 2016

PolitiFact Wisconsin, "Paul Ryan U.S. purchase of heavy water from Iran is direct subsidy of Iran’s nuclear program," April 29, 2016

CNN, "Reality Check: Nuclear deal gave 'American' money to Iran," July 22, 2016

New York Times, "Fact checking the truth that Donald Trump promised," July 21, 2016

FactCheck.org, "Factchecking Trump’s big speech," July 22, 2016

State Department, "Country Reports on Terrorism 2015," June 2016

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Iran nuclear deal was Hillary Clinton's, and it 'lined the pockets' of Iran with Americans' money?

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