Nov 16 2023
WASHINGTON – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) today joined Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) in demanding that President Joe Biden enforce sanctions against Iranian oil sales and permanently freeze the transfer of $6 billion in assets to Tehran from the Biden administration’s September hostage negotiation.
“For far too long, Iran has evaded consequence for its complacency in funding radical terror. To prevent further atrocities and to fulfill our promise of providing unwavering support to our most important ally in the Middle East, we urge your administration to take the necessary means in severing financial avenues available to Iran, specifically cracking down on oil exports,” the senators wrote.
“We ask that you take immediate action to permanently freeze the funding mechanism established in September’s hostage deal with Iran. This $6 billion would free up money for Iran to use not for the well-being of its own people but for nefarious purposes in the region and beyond. Blocking the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism from accessing this $6 billion—rescinding or revising all waivers and licenses involved—will hinder the regime’s ability to support the death and destruction of our allies,” they continued.
“We also demand that you take immediate action to fully enforce U.S. oil sanctions and interdict Iranian oil exports. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimated that exports of crude oil and condensate from Iran fell from 2.5 million barrels per day in 2017 to a mere 400,000 in 2020 amidst the ‘maximum pressure’ campaign. But that pressure campaign evaporated in 2021 and today is practically non-existent. Iran’s crude exports alone surged to more than 2 million barrels per day in August reportedly as part of the administration’s nuclear deal with Iran. That’s an estimated $26 to $30 billion in additional annual revenue for Tehran,” the lawmakers concluded.
The lawmakers also raised concerns about reports that indicate U.S. officials are aware of a gradual relaxation of congressionally mandated sanctions against Iranian oil sales.
Kennedy has also led efforts to prevent an additional $4.9 billion from flowing to Iran through the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The Biden administration greenlit $4.5 billion for Iran in 2021, and Democrats are calling on the White House to do it again.
Kennedy’s No Dollars for Dictators Act would prevent Iran and other perpetrators of genocide and state sponsors of terrorism from receiving special drawing rights through the IMF without congressional authorization.
The full letter is available here.