U.S. Senators Katie Britt, Tim Scott, Colleagues Demand Transparency from Biden Administration Following Release of Additional Iran Sanctions Waivers

April 4, 2024

WASHINGTOND.C., April 4, 2024 — U.S. Senator Katie Britt (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.), and 11 of their Senate Republican colleagues yesterday sent a letter to Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken in response to the Biden Administration’s recent decision to renew yet another Iran sanctions waiver. The Senators’ letter aims to hold the Administration accountable and demands transparency for the American people on U.S. enabled payments to Iran, the leading state sponsor of terrorism.

The Senators raised concerns that the latest waiver makes sanctioned Iranian funds, which could be used to fund terrorism, more accessible to the Iranian regime and disregards congressional intent calling for severe restrictions on payments to Iran. 

In the letter, the Senators wrote, “It is unfathomable that this is the context in which the administration determined that it was within the national security interest of the United States to waive sanctions on restricted Iranian funds, making them more accessible to the regime. If we want to actually restore deterrence in the region, those funds should be placed further out of Iran’s reach, not closer.”

They continued, “…the Iran Threat Reduction Act amended section 1245(d)(4) of the FY12 NDAA to require that any funds due to the Iranian regime for petroleum sales must be kept in bank accounts in the country purchasing Iranian oil, in locally dominated currency from which the regime could draw for the purchase of commercial goods. This requirement was intended to limit the Iranian regime’s ability to access hard currency from these sales…However, you have now issued three waivers related to Iraqi electricity payments that authorize funds to be transferred outside of Iraq and for those funds to be denominated in euro… The United States should be restricting Iran’s access to currency abroad. Instead, your administration is expanding it, all while continuing to share limited information on a strategy to restore deterrence in the Middle East with Congress or the American people.”

“Renewing a sanctions waiver for Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism, should never even be a consideration for the United States of America. Unfortunately, to the grave detriment of U.S. national security and global stability, this financial subsidy to Iran falls squarely in line with the Biden Administration’s posture of appeasement,” said Senator Britt. “U.S. sanctions policy must return to a strategy of maximum pressure, not only to project unwavering American strength to deter more hostile aggression, but also to hold accountable both those who carried out these terrorist attacks, and those who supported them.”

Joining Senator Britt and Ranking Member Scott on the letter were fellow Banking Committee Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.Dak.). Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Todd Young (R-Ind.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Ted Budd (R-N.C.), and Pete Ricketts (R-Nebr.) also signed the letter.

The letter follows Senators Britt and Scott’s request in November for a briefing from the Administration on its strategy to deter Iranian aggression and prevent the escalation of conflict in the Middle East, and answers to detailed questions regarding the Administration’s specific actions.

Last week, Senator Britt joined the Capitol Journal to discuss her unwavering support for Israel and the importance of reimposing bonecrushing sanctions to terminate Iran’s terror network and prevent their ability to fund terrorist proxy groups like Hamas and Hezbollah.

In October, Senator Britt, filling in for Ranking Member Tim Scott at a Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs hearing, led questioning on enforcement actions the U.S. can undertake to ensure maximum pressure is exerted on Iran and their financial networks that fund terrorist groups like Hamas and Hezbollah. Senator Britt additionally outlined the Biden Administration’s inadequate usage of the existing tools at its disposal to financially constrain Iran, which has profited nearly $80 billion from oil sales since President Biden took office.

Senator Britt continues to be an outspoken proponent of strengthening sanctions on Iran to cut off its financial resources. In December of 2023, she led 30 of her Senate Republican colleagues in sending a letter to the Biden Administration urging the Treasury Department to enforce existing sanctions on Iranian steel.

In addition to Senator Rubio’s Stop Harboring Iranian Petroleum (SHIP) Act, Senator Britt is a cosponsor of Senator Tim Scott’s Solidify Iran Sanctions Act and Revoke Iranian Funding Act of 2023; Senator Hagerty’s (R-Tenn.) Iran Sanctions Relief Review Act (ISRRA); Senator Joni Ernst’s (R-Iowa) PUNISH Act of 2023; and Senator Jim Risch’s (R-Idaho) End Iranian Terrorism Act of 2023.