WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week, U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jacky Rosen (D-NV) and Joni Ernst (R-IA) led a bipartisan group of senators in urging Secretary of State Blinken to freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets.
Brown, Rosen and Ernst were joined by Senators 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), Todd Young (R-IN), Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ), Jon Tester (D-MT), and Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV).
The letter is available here and 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 U.S. 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 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.
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 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.
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.