U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin
Press Release

Baldwin and Bipartisan Group of Senators Pushing Biden Administration to Officially Freeze Iranian Assets

 

By - Oct 13th, 2023 01:00 pm

U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) and a bipartisan group of senators are urging Secretary of State Antony 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. In September of this year, the State Department announced its intention to release these assets to Iran as part of a deal that led to the release of imprisoned Americans. However, given Iran’s long-standing material and financial support for Hamas, the senators are pushing the Administration to officially freeze these assets

“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.” the senators 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.

Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) led the effort and other signers included Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), 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).

The full text of the letter can be found here and below.

Dear Secretary Blinken,

We write to you in light of Hamas’ violent and horrific terrorist attacks on Israel on October 7 which killed over a thousand innocent civilians, including American citizens. 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. While we understand that there are reports of an agreement with Qatar to freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets, we urge you to make this decision official U.S. policy and continue your efforts to limit Iran’s ability to provide support to Hamas.

Iran, which is the leading state sponsor of terrorism and has been designated as a State Sponsor of Terrorism since 1984, has provided material and financial support to Hamas and is a strong supporter of its violent activities in the region. 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. Iran has been unrelenting in its backing of terrorist groups in an effort to expand its malign influence in the Middle East.

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. We look forward to working with you to assist Israel in its time of need and ensure it has the resources and tools needed to defend itself against Iranian-sponsored terrorism. Thank you for your consideration.

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. While it is believed to be reliable, Urban Milwaukee does not guarantee its accuracy or completeness.

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