Bill Cassidy, other Republicans call for freeze on $6 billion transfer to Iran amid Israel conflict
WASHINGTON, D.C. - U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy of Louisiana along with 19 other Republicans wrote a letter to President Joe Biden requesting the freeze of funds meant to transfer to Iran amid an intensifying conflict between Israel and Hamas.
“Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and the Wall Street Journal reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps worked with Hamas to plan the ongoing attacks on Israel. These horrific attacks come on the heels of the State Department issuing sanctions waivers for Iranian funds held in South Korean accounts to be converted from won to euros and then transferred to bank accounts in Qatar,” wrote the senators.
Read the full letter from the Senators below:
Dear Mr. President:
We write today to affirm our unwavering support for Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, and call on the U.S. Department of State to freeze the accounts in Qatar containing $6 billion in Iranian funds that were released from South Korean accounts in September.
Since Hamas began its attack on Israel on Saturday, more than 4,000 rockets have been fired from Gaza, countless Israelis have been injured, and more than 130 individuals have been kidnapped by Hamas terrorists. Hundreds of civilians have been brutally murdered in Israel, and recent reports confirm that several Americans were killed in the attacks.
Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and Wall Street Journal reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps worked with Hamas to plan the ongoing attacks on Israel. These horrific attacks come on the heels of the State Department issuing sanctions waivers for Iranian funds held in South Korean accounts to be converted from won to euros and then transferred to bank accounts in Qatar.
To stand by and allow Iran access to these funds as Hamas infiltrates Israel and murders, rapes, and mutilates countless Israelis is unconscionable. Your administration claims these funds are only available for humanitarian use, but money is fungible, and there is a significant risk they could be used to further efforts by Iran or Hamas against Israel. Moreover, allowing $6 billion to flow into Iran’s economy, even if the purpose is for humanitarian aid, allows the Iranian regime to reallocate even more funds to supporting terrorism. Oversight over the use of this $6 billion is not enough, and the oversight mechanism is crippled by your reported decision to pull the longstanding Treasury attache´ from Qatar. The State Department should immediately rescind the waivers that allowed Iranian funds to be converted and moved to more accessible bank accounts, as well as work with U.S. ally Qatar to immediately freeze the accounts containing these funds.
We must stand with Israel and restrict access to these Iranian funds. Iran should be placed under the most stringent sanctions admissible. Anything short of this is unacceptable and only aids in the ability of Iran and Hamas to fund these heinous acts.
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