ICYMI in Fox News: Blackburn Calls On Biden To Permanently Freeze $6 Billion Iran Funds

October 16, 2023

NASHVILLE, TENN. – U.S. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), who led 19 Senate Republicans in the initial call to freeze the $6 billion to Iran, called on the Biden administration to formally freeze the funds and re-direct it to Israel in an interview with Fox News Digital



Senator leading charge to stop Iran accessing $6 billion unfrozen by Biden admin wants money sent to Israel

Brandon Gillespie

Fox News

The senator leading the charge for the Biden administration to refreeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets it released last month as part of a prisoner release deal wants the money to instead be given to Israel to help rebuild from the devastating damage caused by Hamas in its weekend attack.

Speaking with Fox News Digital on Thursday, Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., said she thought the reported "quiet understanding" reached between the U.S. and Qatar to make sure none of the money being held in the country is moved was "a half measure." She was dead set on making sure the money never reached the Iranians.

"The letter that I sent that started the ball rolling on this refreezing that money, 19 of our senators joined me on that letter. And what we wanted is to make certain that that money never gets into Iran's hands. And it should be frozen," Blackburn said.

"[The Biden administration] should rescind the waivers that allowed for that transfer of that money. There should be sanctions on any bank, any country that tries to process those funds for Iran. And quite frankly, I think that the money should be redirected to pay for damages and the destruction that has been done in Israel," she said. 

The White House claimed earlier in the day that none of the $6 billion in assets now being held at a Qatari bank had been accessed by Iran, and that it would only go to approved vendors within the nation chosen by the U.S. 

However, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby, who made the assertion, stopped short of saying that there was a formal pause on the funds.

Blackburn told Fox that after she sent her letter earlier this week to the White House calling for the rescinding of the $6 billion and for the U.S. to support Israel by sending it more weapons, her colleague, Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., moved forward with legislation supported by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., that would block any use of the funds in Iran. 

She noted that a number of Democrats were also in agreement, and expressed hope for more bipartisan support for such legislation in both the House and Senate.

When asked about the administration's insistence that there was no connection between Iran and the attacks by Hamas, Blackburn said the rhetoric coming from Iran showed they were taking credit for the attack through coaching Hamas and funding a vast majority of its budget every year.

During the White House press briefing Wednesday, Kirby left open the possibility that a further intelligence assessment could prove a link between Iran and the attacks, but that it didn't show there was a specific connection at this time.

"Iran is the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism. We know this. And when they start saying this is an essential part of ridding the world of Israel, I think we need to listen to them," Blackburn said.

She went on to blast National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who stated just one week before Hamas launched its attack that the Middle East was the calmest it has been in decades.

"Jake Sullivan has a history of being very wrong on issues of foreign policy. And the advice that he has given President Biden is just out of step," Blackburn said. "He was wrong on Afghanistan. He has been wrong dealing with Iran this go around. He was wrong on the deal they recently cooked up with the prisoner exchange and the $6 billion."

"He was wrong to not enforce the sanctions on Iran because now look at what they've done. They're selling more oil. They're producing more oil than ever. They're selling to China. They're selling to Russia. And they're using that money to further their mission and to push terrorist acts around the globe," she added.