Ricketts Opposes $6 Billion to Iran

Senator Pete Ricketts expressed his concerns this past Thursday, stating that the $6 billion of Iranian assets on hold should not be made available to Iran, especially in light of the recent severe Hamas attack on Israel.

During his appearance on “Rob Schmitt Tonight,” the Nebraska Republican shared that he, alongside several colleagues, is determined to prevent Iran from accessing the held $6 billion.

Sen. Ricketts acknowledged Sen. Marsha Blackburn from Tennessee for her proactive stance on this issue. “She was at the forefront of requesting the administration to put a freeze on these assets,” Ricketts noted, referring to a letter authored by Blackburn and co-signed by 19 other Senate Republicans, including Ricketts himself.

Moreover, Ricketts disclosed, “Current legislative efforts are underway that aim to make it mandatory for the president to keep these funds frozen, and we anticipate strong backing from both the Senate and the House.”

These assets, secured in a Qatari bank, were initially intended to be handed over to Iran in a trade-off for the release of five American hostages, with Emad Shargi, Morad Tahbaz, and Siamak Namazi being among the identified detainees. The identities of the other two remain undisclosed.

However, the dynamics changed after Hamas’ assault in southern Israel resulted in over 1,300 fatalities, injured approximately 3,400, and left over 200 held captive. In the aftermath, suspicions surrounding Tehran’s potential involvement in endorsing this terrorist group intensified.

A recent article from The Wall Street Journal pointed out that top representatives from Hamas and Hezbollah (another organization with links to Iran) suggested that Iran had a hand in financing and planning the assault.

U.S. intelligence reports also hint at Tehran’s possible awareness of Hamas’ impending attack from the Gaza Strip. However, these reports also indicate that the magnitude of the attack might have caught some Iranian officials by surprise.

Echoing the sentiments of Senate Republicans, various Senate Democrats, including Senators Jacky Rosen and Jon Tester, urged President Joe Biden to maintain the freeze on the assets.

To this end, the Biden administration declared on Thursday that they had reached a consensus with Qatar (the intermediary holding the funds) to ensure that Iran cannot tap into these assets for now.