A bipartisan group of 14 senators led by Republican Sen. Marsha Blackburn (TN), Joni Ernst (IA), and Jacky Rosen (NV) are calling on the Biden administration to freeze the $6 billion it agreed to release to Iran in exchange for five American hostages last month, in light of the terrorist attacks committed by Iran-supported Hamas in Israel.
On Thursday, the senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken requesting him to make it official U.S. policy to freeze the $6 billion and hold Iran accountable for its direct support of Hamas. Signatories of the letter included Sens. Blackburn, Ernst, Rosen, Joe Manchin (D-WV), Tammy Baldwin (D-IL), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Bob Casey (D-PA), Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (R-AZ), James Lankford (R-OK), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Jon Tester (D-MT).
On Tuesday, Blackburn and additional Republican senators took to the podium to pressure the Biden administration.
“On October 7, Israel experienced the worst massacre of Jews since the Holocaust. This is not a time for any of us to stay silent,” Blackburn said during a press conference. “We know that Iran bankrolls Hamas, and yet it is perplexing why this administration refuses to issue a formal decision to freeze the $6 billion. We need to ensure that not another dollar goes to Iran.”
Blackburn also criticized the Biden administration for sending over $730 million in aid to Palestinians via the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. “Yesterday, we learned Hamas stole aid from that group. I’ll be introducing legislation to halt all funding for for them until Iran is expelled from the U.N. and investigated for violations.”
— Senate Republicans (@SenateGOP) October 17, 2023
Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said there would be legislation aimed at permanently freezing the $6 billion.
“Our hearts break for our friends and allies in Israel. And an important part of standing up with Israel is standing up to Iran,” he said. “They are the number one sponsor of terrorism in the world today.”
Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) said he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu six weeks ago, and the “most important topic” they discussed was Iran’s support for Hamas and Hezbollah.
“Shortly after I returned to see President Biden releasing $6 billion to the Iranians. It’s unconscionable the United States could be used in a war against our most important ally. And that’s Israel,” he said. “Biden’s ransom payment made the Iranians shows you where his true colors are, and that’s facilitating enabling Iran to continue to be the leading sponsor of terrorism in the world.”
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said, “Unfortunately, the message of the Biden administration has been one of appeasement of Iran,” adding:
Iranians have American blood on their hands dating back from at least 1979 During the Iranian Revolution, and more recently in Iraq, where they were the provider of explosively formed penetrators, which would penetrate the steel of our Humvees and other armored vehicles and kill American soldiers. They are the number one state sponsor of terrorism providing $100 million a year in assistance to Hamas and Hezbollah, their proxies.
“It must be clear and unequivocal, we stand with Israel and our allies,” he said.
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) blasted the Biden administration for paying off Iran to “behave.” He said:
The idea you can bribe Iran to be normal doesn’t work. There’s not enough money you can send these people to make them behave. They have an agenda to destroy the Jewish state to purify Islam and come after us. I believe them when they say ‘Death to America.’ They’re not joking. So isolate Iran, weaken Iran destroy Hamas is the objective.
Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) said:
We have to make sure this money does not go to Iran… . This administration needs to show up and start worrying about the people spend more time worrying about Americans and in Israel than it does about having some relation with Iran with in the Palestinians. It’s disgusting what this administration is doing.
Sen. Roger Marshall (R-MO) called on the White House to “make a choice.” He said:
You cannot be pro-Israel and pro-Iran. You have to make that decision. There’s no way that you can support both of these people. I have a hunch that the moment the Biden administration unfroze the $6 billion was the seminal moment when the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard told Hamas, ‘Let’s go forward with this plan that we’ve had going on here.’ Joe Biden is the most pro-Iranian president we’ve ever had. Think about it — it goes way beyond the $6 billion we’re talking about.
Sen. Katie Britt (R-AL) said:
I am hopeful that the Biden administration will do much more than just refreezing the $6 billion that is headed to Iran. We know what to do. We’ve got to squeeze out any type of financial resources. They’re getting through that through also working with our G7 colleagues to make sure that we return to a posture of maximum maximum pressure, bone crushing sanctions, drying up each and every dollar that is headed to their hands.
We know that Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism. We know that we know they have told us that their goal is to wipe Israel off the face of this earth. We need our leaders to stand firm and a calling them accountable. And then knowing that Hamas not only wants to wipe out Israel but has said that they want to wipe out the Jewish people. To all of the people here in America to those suffering and hurting and Israel. We want you to know we stand with you.
Sen. Ted Budd (R-NC) said, “Hamas terrorists would not have been able to execute such a heinous series of attacks without support from Iran. We know that. That’s why President Biden $6 billion dollar giveaway to the regime was absolutely so dangerous,” adding:
That gave rise to the very issue that we’ve been dealing with these last 10 days. Now it was a ransom payment to the world’s number one state sponsor of terror. And sadly, the irony is that give back was announced on September 11. That just showed more Biden weakness when what we need around the world is more American strength. We should be standing shoulder to shoulder with the State of Israel and we should give them everything that they need to destroy us.
Sen. Pete Ricketts (R-NE) called on the Biden administration to “end this appeasement strategy.” He said:
I’m glad the president finally saw some common sense in temporarily freezing $6 billion. But let’s remember this was a deal cut in secret by the Biden administration. And if the Wall Street Journal reports are accurate, Iran was double dealing with us talking Hamas planning this attack at the same time they’re negotiating $6 billion dollars from us. That just shows you the level of contempt that Iran has for the Biden administration. It is naive and stupid to think that if we give them enough money that Iran will play nice it’s not going to happen. The $6 billion as part of an overall package of $50 billion in sanction relief that the administration Biden administration has given back to Iran. This must end.
He added, “It is crazy to give them money so they can support Hamas and whether or not they actually plan this attack with loss or not they have been supporting Hamas and they are responsible for this attack. And so I joined my colleagues in saying that this must end. We must stop supporting Iran and we must send a very strong message that we stand with Israel.”
Originally Posted at : www.breitbart.com