Senators Demand Freeze On Iran’s $6 Billion Transfer
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AK) have announced their intention to introduce legislation aimed at freezing the Biden administration’s $6 billion transfer to Iran. This bold step comes in response to the recent brutal terrorist attacks launched by Hamas against Israel, which have raised concerns about the potential misuse of these funds.
“Iran is the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism,” Cotton emphasized in a statement.
“In addition to funding Hamas’s devastating terrorist attacks against Israel, the regime’s proxies have attacked dozens of American targets in the region in recent years,” the senator added, as he also took his message to X.
Biden administration officials have said not a penny of the $6 billion we released to Iran has been spent.
Good. Now freeze those funds again so Iran cannot continue to fund terrorism. pic.twitter.com/zw1BlFs4Y8
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) October 11, 2023
McConnell echoed these sentiments, stating, “The civilized world must re-impose serious consequences on the regime that aids and abets murderous evil against innocent Israelis. The United States must lead that effort by our example, and freezing Iranian assets is an important first step.”
The $6 billion transfer in question stems from a recently finalized agreement between the Biden administration and Iran, which involved releasing previously frozen assets in exchange for the release of five American prisoners.
While the administration has maintained that these funds are intended for “humanitarian purposes,” concerns have been raised about the potential consequences of allowing Iran immediate access to such a substantial sum given its predisposition to war.
Critics argue that the transfer may inadvertently free up unrestricted funds already held by Iran, potentially enabling the regime to finance future terrorist operations. This has become a focal point of criticism regarding President Joe Biden’s approach to Iran and has prompted inquiries into whether Iran played a direct role in the recent attack by Hamas on Israel.
McConnell and Cotton’s proposition comes after a group of nearly two dozen Republican senators signed a letter on Monday demanding the immediate refreezing of the $6 billion transfer.
This call for action has also garnered support from Democratic senators, including Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Bob Casey (D-PA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV), all of whom have urged Biden to freeze the assets while the U.S. assesses Iran’s potential involvement in the attacks.
Casey, even while throwing allegations of “intentional misleading” at Republicans regarding the funds’ role in the attacks, asserted, “These funds should remain frozen until we can determine whether Iran played a role in the attack and what the appropriate U.S. response should be.”
Despite these bipartisan calls for action, the Biden administration has not committed to refreezing the $6 billion transfer. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has stated, “Not a dollar of that money has been spent.”