The House passed legislation on Wednesday requiring the Treasury Department to publicly list the known assets of top Iranian political and military leaders.

The bill, approved in a 282-143 vote, is meant to impose more transparency into how Iran's senior officials accumulate wealth, the legislation's supporters said.

President Obama has threatened to veto the legislation, however, as the White House argues that publishing the data could compromise intelligence methods and be perceived by Iran as an attempt to undermine the international nuclear deal.

“This bill would adversely affect the U.S. Government's ability to wield these tools, would undermine the very goals it purports to achieve, and could even endanger our ability to ensure that Iran's nuclear program is and remains exclusively peaceful,” the White House said in a Statement of Administration Policy.

The bill is part of an effort by Republicans to call attention to the nuclear deal ahead of the elections, and to criticize a cash payment the administration made as part of a separate arms deal that settled a dispute that went back decades. Republicans have criticized the $1.3 billion in payments, arguing there is a link to Iran's release of several hostages.

The House is expected to vote later this week on another bill that would prohibit any future cash payments to Iran.


The Obama administration has maintained it opted to withhold the payment, which was already pledged as part of a settlement, to optimize leverage so that Iran adhered to the prisoner release agreement.

Under the measure approved on Wednesday, the Treasury Department would provide a list estimating the assets of senior Iranian officials with a description of how they were acquired. The report would be translated in English and the three main languages spoken in Iran (Farsi, Arabic and Azeri).


“Let’s use transparency of one click of a computer from any corner of this globe to expose what a chief sponsor of terrorism in this world is doing with its money,” said Rep. Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), the author of the bill. Poliquin is in a competitive reelection race this year.

Democrats argued that the report could only offer a limited assessment of Iranian leaders’ wealth, especially since some of it may have to remain classified.

“This bill, if it passes, will get at some tiny fraction of the wealth of the Iranian regime in a way that will frankly embarrass our country because we will show how little we know,” said Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.).