November 30, 2023

Scott on the Biden Administration’s Iran Strategy: “Completely Disjointed”

Washington, D.C. – Following the Biden administration’s recent November 13 decision to extend an Iran sanctions waiver, Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.) today led his colleagues in a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin demanding answers over the administration’s lack of a cohesive Iran strategy. A disjointed strategy toward Iran signals that despite attacks on U.S. servicemembers and our allies, it is business as usual on the economic front.

Republican members of the Senate Banking Committee – including Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), JD Vance (R-Ohio), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.) – joined the Ranking Member on the letter. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.),  Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-La.), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Roger Marshall, M.D. (R-Kan.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) also signed the letter.

“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,” wrote the senators.

The senators went on to request briefings from the Departments of the Treasury, State, and Defense, saying, “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 7th, 2023.”

To read the full letter, click here.


Immediately following the Biden administration’s August decision to release $6 billion to Iran, Ranking Member Scott led his colleagues in demanding answers from the administration. In a letter to Secretaries Blinken and Yellen, the Ranking Member warned that the decision would “enable the Iranian regime to increase its destabilizing activities” and would “serve to encourage additional hostage taking for financial or political gain.”

After the October 7th attack on Israel by Hamas, Ranking Member Scott was the first leader of the Senate Banking Committee to demand accountability from the Biden administration on the release of the $6 billion, and called for Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to testify and for the Senate to investigate the matter.

Ranking Member Scott also introduced the Revoke Iranian Funding Act, a bipartisan bill to permanently freeze $6 billion released by the Biden administration to Iran. The bill also directs the Treasury Secretary to study Iran’s sanctioned assets and ensures Congress has the information it needs to prevent Iran from accessing and using sanctioned funds to finance Hamas or other terrorists that seek to harm Israel or any other nation.