WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jim Risch (R-Idaho), ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, this week joined U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.), ranking member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), Katie Britt (R-Ala.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Kennedy (R-La.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) in demanding answers from the Biden Administration regarding the approximately $6 billion it released to Iran in exchange for American prisoners.
In a letter to Secretaries Blinken and Yellen, the senators wrote, “When the Obama administration released $400 million in liquidated assets to Iran in 2016, we warned that this dangerous precedent would put a price on American lives. Seven years later, the current administration is providing a ransom payment worth at least fifteen times that amount to the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, in yet another violation of the United States’ long-standing ‘no concessions’ policy. In the release of Executive Order 14078 on July 19, 2022, the White House admitted that ‘terrorist organizations, criminal groups, and other malicious actors who take hostages for financial, political, or other gain—as well as foreign states that engage in the practice of wrongful detention, including for political leverage or to seek concessions from the United States—threaten the integrity of the international political system and the safety of United States nationals and other persons abroad.’ The release of such a significant sum to the Iranian regime runs entirely counter to that claim and will only serve to encourage additional hostage taking for financial or political gain.”
A copy of the full letter can be found here.