In Light Of Reports Of Agreement Between U.S. And Qatar To Withhold $6 Billion In Iranian Assets, Senators Urge State Department To Make It Official U.S. Policy To Freeze The Funds
WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, are leading a bipartisan group of senators in urging Secretary of State Blinken to make it the official policy of the United States to freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets in the wake of Hamas’s deadly terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7, 2023. In September of this year, the State Department announced its intention to release these assets to Iran. However, given Iran’s long-standing material and financial support for Hamas, the senators are pushing the Administration to officially reverse its decision. Senators Rosen and Ernst were joined by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
“Given Iran’s history of supporting acts of terrorism through Hamas, the United States must do everything in its power in the wake of this brutal attack to ensure that Iran is not in a position to continue funding Hamas’ terrorist activities in Israel and throughout the Middle East,” wrote the senators. “As you know, the State Department’s 2021 Country Report on Terrorism found that Hamas received weapons systems and other direct support from Iran, allowing the group to carry out deadly attacks against Israel. In 2022, Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas, stated publicly that the terrorist organization had received $70 million in assistance from Iran that year, and that it used the money to build rockets.”
“While the U.S. intelligence community continues to assess Iran’s role in the October 7 terrorist attacks, it is clear that Iran’s support for Hamas has sustained the terrorist group, ensuring that Hamas had the means to carry out their abhorrent attack on Israel.” they continued. “We therefore strongly urge you to make it official U.S. policy to freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets currently held in Qatar, and continue to hold Iran accountable for its violent and destabilizing actions, including direct support of Hamas.”
The full text of the letter can be found HERE.
Senator Rosen has been a leader in standing up to Iran. She was among the first senators to call on the Biden Administration to refreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets currently held in Qatar. Earlier this year, Senator Rosen stood up to her own party and voted in favor of several Republican amendments to the Authorization For Use of Military Force that would combat Iranian aggression and support Israel. She has also helped introduce the bipartisan Solidify Iran Sanctions Act (SISA) to make permanent the Iran Sanctions of 1996 that would allow the President to impose sanctions on Iran’s energy sectors. Rosen also led the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus in introducing the bipartisan Maritime Architecture and Response to International Terrorism in the Middle (MARITIME) Act to counter maritime threats posed by Iran.