WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Thom Tillis and his colleagues recently sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding answers over the administration’s lack of a cohesive Iran strategy given the recent decision to extend an Iran sanctions waiver. As Israel continues to battle Iranian-backed Hamas and the regime’s proxies increase their attacks against U.S. personnel in the region, the Biden Administration on November 13 issued a waiver providing Iran access to approximately $10 billion.
“On August 18, 2023, we wrote to express our concern over the administration’s decision to release $6 billion worth of frozen Iranian assets in exchange for the return of American detainees. This decision reinforced an incredibly dangerous precedent of providing ransom payments to the world’s greatest state sponsor of terrorism and put a price on the life of every American overseas. Understanding the grave error of the unfreezing of Iranian assets and the danger this action poses to U.S. lives and interests, it is therefore alarming to hear that the administration is doubling down on its appeasement strategy by actively working to provide Iran with access to billions more in funding,” the senators wrote.
“As we said in August, money is fungible. Combined with the $10 billion waiver extension, the administration has provided Iran with access to roughly $16 billion in assets over the past four months; assets that can be used—now or in the future—to offset the cost of the Iranian regime’s increase in destabilizing activities across the region. A strong signal of deterrence—utilizing military, economic, and diplomatic tools—is needed if we want to stop the attacks against U.S. personnel and prevent the war in Gaza from expanding into a protracted regional conflict. Unfortunately, the administration’s military and economic responses to Iran and its proxies have not only been disproportionate, they appear to be completely disjointed,” the senators continued.
“We therefore request that your departments provide us with a classified assessment on the administration’s plan to deter Iranian aggression and prevent the escalation of conflict in the Middle East. This assessment should include an estimation of how Iran has already leveraged—and could in the future leverage—against U.S. persons and interests the tens of billions in assets it now has access to due to your administration’s use of U.S. sanctions waivers and is to be provided in a member or staff-level briefing no later than December 7, 2023,” the senators concluded.
Read the full letter HERE.