Some Democratic Senators are joining Republicans in calling on the Biden administration to refreeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets that were released last month, after Hamas attacked Israel.
Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont, posted about his support of freezing the $6 billion in Iranian assets to the social media platform X on Tuesday.
“As American intelligence officials continue to investigate the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas, we should review our options to hold Iran accountable for any support they may have provided,” the senator said. “At a minimum, we should immediately freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets and explore other financial tools we have at our disposal.”
My statement on freezing Iranian assets: pic.twitter.com/JNpsp4woHd
— Senator Jon Tester (@SenatorTester) October 10, 2023
Another Democrat, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, told Politico on Tuesday he, too, supported refreezing the $6 billion in assets.
“I wasn’t supportive of the initial $6 billion transfer,” he told the publication. “We should absolutely freeze these Iranian assets while we also consider additional sanctions.”
Manchin did not immediately respond to inquiries from Fox News Digital on the matter.
In September, the Biden administration made a deal with Iran to swap prisoners and release $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds.
As part of the deal, Iran released five American citizens detained in Iran and the U.S. released five Iranian citizens being held in the U.S. The deal also created a blanket waiver to transfer $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds from South Korea to Qatar without fear of violating U.S. sanctions.
None of the money went directly to Iran and no U.S. taxpayer funds were reportedly used.
The unfreezing of the money took place nearly a month before Hamas terrorists launched a massive, deadly attack on Israel on Saturday, and Republicans in the House and Senate are tearing into the Biden administration, calling the move “false and misleading.”
“Just weeks ago, the Biden administration handed over $6 billion to Iran, and today, innocent Israelis were murdered by Iran-backed terrorists,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said in a statement shortly after the attacks. “We must continue to support our strongest ally in the Middle East and their right to defend themselves against these unprovoked, horrific attacks.”
The administration says the money can only be used for humanitarian purposes and the U.S. will have oversight on how and when the funds are used.
Jake Sullivan, the White House National Security Advisor, told reporters “not a dollar” of the money has been spent.
Still, critics argue the funds can be diverted to other places. Iran is a known backer of Hamas and praised the attacks on Israel. The State Department has stated in the past the Iran provides some $100 million a year to Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
Source » foxnews