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Lankford Pushes Biden Administration to Officially Freeze Iranian Assets

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – Senators James Lankford (R-OK), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), leaders of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, along with a bipartisan group of Senators, sent a letter 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 continued deadly terrorist attacks on Israel.

In August 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. Lankford, Rosen, and Ernst were joined by Senators Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), 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 theSenators. “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 US 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 US 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.”

Following the brutal attacks on Israel this weekend, Lankford immediately issued a statement on our ongoing and unwavering support for Israel and the Israelis’ right to defend themselves. As co-founder and co-chair of the Senate Abraham Accords Caucus, Lankford and his fellow co-chairs also issued a powerful joint statement of support for Israel. He also joined some of the first calls to rescind $6 billion from Iran.  

View the letter here or 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 US 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 US 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 US 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.

Sincerely,

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