Friday, U.S. Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) and a bipartisan group of senators urged 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 on October 7, 2023.
In September 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 Biden Administration to officially reverse its decision.
Senator Young was joined by Senators Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), Bob Casey (D-PA), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) in sending a letter to Secretary Blinken.
“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.” they 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.”
The full text of the letter can be found HERE.