October 17, 2023

Scott Leads Colleagues in Bill to Freeze $6 Billion to Iran, Probe Additional Iranian Assets

Washington, D.C. – Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, along with Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kyrsten Sinema (I-Ariz.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), JD Vance (R-Ohio), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), and Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), today introduced the Revoke Iranian Funding Act to rescind the general licenses that enabled the release of the $6 billion to Iran and prevent the Iranian regime from accessing and using the funds held in Qatar to finance terrorist attacks against Israel or any other nation. In addition, the bill directs the Treasury Secretary to study all high-value Iranian assets around the world that are currently blocked by U.S. sanctions and provide that information to Congress, ensuring Congress has the information necessary to enact further targeted legislation, if necessary.

 Read an overview of the bill here and a section-by-section here.

“The Biden administration’s decision to release $6 billion to Iran – the world’s leading state sponsor of terror – was a grave mistake that created a market for American hostages, emboldened our adversaries, and put a credit on the balance sheets of one of Hamas’s biggest backers,” said Ranking Member Tim Scott. “In the wake of Hamas’s horrific attacks on Israel, it has only become clearer that this rogue regime cannot be trusted as long they continue to support terrorist organizations. My bill is a comprehensive approach to wielding our economic sanctions tools against Iran by freezing the $6 billion and ensuring Congress has the information necessary to prevent Iran from accessing funds in the future. We must be unequivocal that the United States will not back down and waive sanctions on frozen Iranian funds held by other nations.”

Ranking Member Scott's legislation continues his commitment to applying pressure on the Iranian regime and holding the Biden administration accountable through rigorous congressional oversight. On August 18, Ranking Member Scott demanded answers from the Biden administration after it announced the release of $6 billion to Iran. On October 10, Ranking Member Scott released a statement calling for the Banking Committee to hold a hearing with Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on the Biden administration’s release of $6 billion to Iran and urged a Senate investigation into the matter.

Earlier this year, Ranking Member Scott introduced the Solidify Iran Sanctions Act to cement the Iran Sanctions Act. The Iran Sanctions Act imposes sanctions that restrict funding for Iran’s energy sector, curtailing the regime’s ability to finance terrorism and develop its nuclear program. Ranking Member Scott’s bill removes the expiration date of these sanctions and makes them permanent – demonstrating America’s unwavering commitment to forcefully answering Iran’s destabilizing actions.

“Money is fungible and guarantees that unfrozen assets cannot be used to fuel Iran’s global support for terrorist warfare against Americans and other innocent civilians simply do not exist,” said Senator Mike Crapo. “The United States must not release the $6 billion in Iranian assets. While the announcement of an understanding with Qatar to freeze the funds is a positive step, more must be done. Our legislation would codify in law what the Administration cannot guarantee--that Iran will not see a single dollar from the United States to use for funding terrorism across the globe.”

“Iran is the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, and it should come as no surprise that they have funded, trained, and equipped Hamas, who executed a full-blown assault on Israel,” said Senator John Cornyn. “This legislation would ensure the $6 billion President Biden wrongly agreed to release to Iran can’t be accessed and used to finance terrorism, and I’m proud to join my colleagues to support it in defense of Israel.”

“America must stop rewarding terrorist regimes with legitimacy and cash,” said Senator John Barrasso. “The world is seeing firsthand the destruction and chaos inflicted by Iranian-backed terrorists. Helping Iran get additional funds is a grave mistake. We must block the Iranian regime from accessing accounts across the globe. Our bill revokes the Biden administration’s outrageous $6 billion ransom payment to Iran. It also increases transparency to ensure the Biden administration doesn’t unilaterally attempt to release additional funds to Iran in the future.”

“Iran must be held accountable for their sponsorship of Hamas and other terrorist organizations. As the largest state sponsor of terror in the world, the Biden administration should never have allowed Iran access to this $6 billion. Our legislation will freeze this $6 billion to stop Iran from accessing funds that can be used to fund terror and spread violence,” said Senator John Hoeven.

“Negotiations with criminal tyrants, such as the regime in Tehran, undermines our national security interests and credibility. Unfortunately, we have seen the repercussions of this administration’s disastrous policy towards Iran, which has provided Iran billions of dollars it can use to support terrorism against Israel. Re-freezing the $6 billion which President Biden gladly gifted to the Ayatollah, is a logical first step to undo this administration’s absurd mistake,” said Senator Marco Rubio.

“Hamas couldn’t have planned or carried out its attack against Israel without support from Iran, the world’s number one state sponsor of terrorism. Our legislation will halt efforts to provide billions of dollars to Iran. It will also increase transparency by providing Congress with more information about Iran’s high-value assets around the world that are currently subject to U.S. sanctions,” said Senator Deb Fischer.

“Providing a $6 billion credit to Iran, the world leader in state sponsored terrorism, only emboldens our adversaries and weakens the standing of the United States and our allies. As Hamas continues their attacks of terror on Israel, supported by Iran, this funding must be unequivocally frozen and general licenses must be rescinded. We must use every tool available to prevent illicit financing of terrorist activities, and I’m proud to introduce this legislation with my colleagues to block Iran from receiving these assets that would further endanger the lives of Americans and our allies,” said Senator Shelley Moore Capito.

“On the anniversary of America’s deadliest terrorist attack, Biden gave the leading state sponsor of terrorism access to six billion dollars,” said Senator Bill Cassidy. “Iran may not have told Hamas to do this, but they prepared Hamas to do it. That preparation required money. Stop giving Iran money.”

“The Biden administration should never have released the $6 billion to Iran, the world’s worst state sponsor of terrorism. The ayatollahs have funded dozens of terrorist attacks against America and our allies, including Hamas’s recent devastating attacks against Israel. This legislation will prevent the Iranian regime from accessing the $6 billion and give Congress more information to enact further restrictions on Iran,” said Senator Tom Cotton.

“Just weeks ago the Biden Administration paid out billions of dollars to Iran and now we are witnessing the Iranian-backed terror group Hamas carry out horrific acts on the Israeli people. It is disturbing to think that money supplied by the U.S. could be facilitating barbaric attacks against our ally Israel. We must use every tool possible to prevent Iran from accessing these funds and carrying out more attacks on Israel,” said Senator Steve Daines.

“As we stand firmly with Israel as she defends herself against Hamas's evil terrorism, its critical we stop the flow of money to Iran - the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism and one of Hamas's top supporters. We’re working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets and craft a comprehensive solution to cut off funding for terrorist organizations including Hamas, Iran, and their backers,” said Senator Kyrsten Sinema.

“As Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists wage an unprovoked attack against our ally Israel, the last thing the Biden administration should be doing is transferring billions to Iran,” said Senator Kevin Cramer. “Instead of capitulating to terrorists, Congress needs to start by getting an accurate accounting of Iranian assets to target any future sanctions and ensure the $6 billion held in Qatar remains frozen.”

“Iran knew they had $6 billion coming their way, and that windfall freed up resources to sponsor the heinous terrorist attack from Hamas against our greatest ally in the region, Israel. The U.S. must immediately and permanently freeze these funds, so that they cannot be used to fund terrorist organizations,” said Senator Mike Braun.

Senator Rick Scott said, “It was foolish for the Biden administration to ever move this money and now we need to make sure these funds never get to the evil Iranian regime and make clear that the United States of America will never play nice with terrorists. Anyone who says the Iranians and their terrorist proxies couldn’t use this $6 billion to support terrorism is lying to you. It’s time to take these funds off the table for good, slam Iran with the most severe sanctions imaginable and hold this evil regime accountable for the terror it has unleashed on the world.”

“For far too long, this administration has made our nation look weak on the world stage,” said Senator Cynthia Lummis. “Releasing any of the $6 billion to Iran as part of a U.S.-Iranian prisoner swap is not only naïve but dangerous. The Biden administration is freeing up funds within the Iranian government that they can then use to sponsor terrorism. This legislation will increase transparency and prevent these funds from falling into the Iranian regime’s hands. If this administration is unable to properly represent and protect the U.S.’s global interests, Congress will have to do it for them.”

“I’m pleased to support Banking Committee Ranking Member Scott’s bill to reverse President Biden’s reckless ransom payment of $6 billion in sanctions relief to Iran, the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” said Senator Bill Hagerty. “Money is fungible, so Congress must do everything it can to deny all funds to the Iranian regime, which provides money, arms, and technology to the Hamas terrorists who savagely murdered over 1,300 people in Israel, including 30 American citizens, on October 7th.”

“We cannot allow Iran to continue enriching themselves and then using that money to fund Hamas, Hezbollah, and other terrorists who wish to inflict barbaric brutality on innocent civilians – including American citizens. As we’ve seen in its response to the terrorist attacks in Israel, the regime in Tehran does not care how many men are killed, how many women are raped, and how many children are kidnapped. We need to immediately cut off all possible sources of funding going to Iran and impose bone-crushing international sanctions to ensure maximum consequences. This will send a loud, needed message to the world – if you do business with the Iranian regime, the United States will view you as complicit in these atrocities, and we will treat you accordingly,” said Senator Katie Britt.

United Against Nuclear Iran has also voiced its support for the Revoke Iranian Funding Act:

“United Against Nuclear Iran Action strongly supports the Revoke Iranian Funding Act. This bipartisan legislation refreezes the $6 billion unfrozen for Iran in a misguided deal to reward Tehran’s hostage taking. Money is fungible, and these funds would bankroll Iran’s dangerous activities, and particularly its support for terrorists with American and Israeli blood on their hands. We thank Senator Scott and Congressman Nunn for sponsoring this bill and urge Congress to adopt it without delay.”