Sen Daines wants the $6 billion in Iranian assets to be used for Israeli defense
FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., introduced a bill Thursday to reallocate the $6 billion in Iranian funds to Israeli defense amid Israel’s war against Hamas.
The bill seeks to take the $6 billion, which was released to Iran in September as part of a negotiation for the release of five American prisoners, and put it into an account for Israel to use in its fight against Iran-backed Hamas.
‘As the Iranian-backed terror group Hamas continues its barbaric attacks against the Israeli people, the United States must stand firmly by our biggest ally in the Middle East,’ Daines said in a statement. ‘The United States must not only restrict Iran’s access to Biden’s $6 billion ransom payment but also repurpose those funds to help Israel recover from these horrific actions.’
The bill also proposes that frozen Iranian assets beyond the initial $6 billion cannot be unfrozen or utilized until the president confirms to Congress that hostilities between Hamas, other Iranian-backed groups, and Israel have ceased; until full compensation has been provided to Israel for damages caused by attacks; or until Iran is actively participating in an internationally agreed mechanism to compensate Israel for determined amounts owed.
Republican lawmakers in the upper chamber have been ramping up their efforts to introduce bills pertaining to the Iranian assets this week.
Nearly 20 GOP senators are calling on the Biden administration to freeze the funds that were released to a Qatar account in exchange for five American prisoners last month.
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., led a group of GOP senators on Tuesday, urging the administration to ‘limit Iran’s ability to provide support to Hamas.’
Meanwhile, Sens. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and John Kennedy, R-La., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., linked arms to introduce legislation to also freeze the assets.
BIDEN ISSUES CRYPTIC WARNING TO IRAN AFTER ADMIN DENIES COUNTRY WAS INVOLVED IN HAMAS ATTACK: ‘BE CAREFUL’
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee, also unveiled legislation Tuesday that would handicap the Treasury and State Department’s ability to relax U.S. sanctions on Iranian assets and direct the Treasury secretary to examine Iranian assets around the world currently restricted by U.S. sanctions and provide that information to Congress.
In the House, China Committee Chairman Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., led a bipartisan group of nearly 100 House lawmakers last Wednesday to urge President Biden to refreeze the $6 billion as well.
The U.S. has a ‘quiet agreement’ with Qatar to block Iran from accessing the $6 billion amid Hamas’ terror attacks on Israel that began Oct. 7, sources familiar with the move told Fox News last week.