House Approves Legislation To Prevent Iran From Using $6 Billion in Funds

House Approves Legislation To Prevent Iran From Using $6 Billion in Funds

( – In early August, Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that President Joe Biden’s administration had authorized the release of roughly $6 billion in Iranian oil profits frozen in a South Korean bank under the authority of US sanctions in exchange for the release of five American prisoners. However, by October, the White House had reversed itself and agreed to withhold those funds. Concerned by the possibility of another about-face, the House recently passed a measure permanently addressing the release of those funds.

On November 30, the House voted to pass the No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act (HR.5961) by a margin of 307 to 119, with one lawmaker voting present and eight not participating. Ninety Democrats voted alongside 217 Republicans to approve the measure. One Republican and 118 Democrats voted against the bill.

If the measure passes in the Senate and Biden signs it into law, HR.5961 would bar the president from waiving the authority previously granted that prohibited Iran’s access to the billions of dollars of oil funds currently held in Qatar under US sanctions. Likewise, the measure restricts administration authorities from issuing a “general or specific license” permitting the Iranian government or any Iranian national to benefit directly or indirectly from any funds held described in section1245(d)(4)(D)(ii)(II) of the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.

In short, HR.5961 would immediately freeze the $6 billion of Iranian funds. Additionally, it would permanently prohibit the president from releasing any of those funds and others to that hostile terrorist state and any Iranian nationals.

House Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik (R-NY) issued a statement shortly after the bill’s passage. She expressed her pride at the Republican-led effort to freeze Biden’s “$6 billion ransom payment” to the Iranian government, the “world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism.”

Stefanik also applauded House Republicans for “stepping up” to take that necessary step towards ensuring America’s safety and security. Additionally, she pointed out that passing this measure would prevent Iran from using those funds to “bankroll” the recent attacks on Israel by the “barbaric terrorist organization Hamas.”

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