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Tags: iran | prisoner | hostages | tom cotton | mitch mcconnell | legislation | funds

Sens. McConnell, Cotton Bill Will Freeze $6 Billion to Iran Immediately

By    |   Thursday, 12 October 2023 12:21 PM EDT

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will introduce legislation and seek unanimous consent for that legislation to block Iran from accessing the $6 billion in funds that the Biden administration released in August for a prisoner swap.

Thus far, five Senate Democrats have joined the bipartisan effort, including Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.; Jon Tester, D-Mont.; Jacky Rosen, D-Nev.; Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis.; and Bob Casey, D-Pa., the New York Post reported.

"Iran is the world's worst state sponsor of terrorism," Cotton wrote in a statement. "In addition to funding Hamas' devastating terrorist attacks against Israel, the regime's proxies have attacked dozens of American targets in the region in recent years.

"The Biden administration's decision to let Iran access the $6 billion immediately freed up other money for the regime to fund its attacks in Israel. The Biden administration should immediately re-freeze the funds."

The U.S. reportedly already has a "quiet understanding" with Qatar to hold the $6 billion in sanctioned Iranian oil money, and Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo told House Democrats about this "quiet agreement" and the $6 billion "isn't going anywhere anytime soon," Punchbowl News reported Thursday.

McConnell is co-sponsoring the bipartisan bill in the Senate.

"The path of resources, training, and lethal weapons from Tehran to terrorists throughout the Middle East is crystal clear," McConnell wrote in a statement. "On Saturday, it enabled cold-blooded killers like Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to perpetrate the deadliest day of violence against Jews in decades.

"The civilized world must re-impose serious consequences on the regime that aids and abets murderous evil against innocent Israelis. The United States must lead that effort by our example, and freezing Iranian assets is an important first step."

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the administration is exploring all options to tighten Iran sanctions, including holding up the $6 billion from the prisoner swap, she told a conference in Morocco on Wednesday.

"These are funds that are sitting in Qatar that were made available purely for humanitarian purposes and the funds have not been touched," Yellen said. "I wouldn't take anything off the table in terms of future possible actions."

While Iran admitted those funds are for humanitarian needs, Republicans and critics of the deal have noted money is fungible and have pointed to Iran's own post-deal comments that is intends to use its money however it desires.

Also, before the Hamas terrorist attacks in Israel on Saturday, Iran forcefully came out against diplomatic efforts to cut deals with Israel, saying those seeking to do so would be backing "a losing horse."

Eric Mack

Eric Mack has been a writer and editor at Newsmax since 2016. He is a 1998 Syracuse University journalism graduate and a New York Press Association award-winning writer.

© 2024 Newsmax. All rights reserved.


US
Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will introduce legislation and seek unanimous consent for that legislation to block Iran from accessing the $6 billion in funds that the Biden administration released in August for a prisoner swap.
iran, prisoner, hostages, tom cotton, mitch mcconnell, legislation, funds, biden administration
432
2023-21-12
Thursday, 12 October 2023 12:21 PM
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