A group of lawmakers from both parties has written a letter to President Joe Biden, asking him to address a delay in the seizure of Iranian oil and gas shipments. The tanker, Suez Rajan, was seized earlier this year by the United States government for transferring sanctioned Iranian oil. The plan was for the ship and its cargo to be offloaded in Houston, with the oil profits going to victims of terrorism. However, U.S. companies are hesitant to touch or unload the cargo, fearing retribution from Iran.
The lawmakers believe that allowing a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization like Iran to prevent the transfer of seized assets within U.S. territorial waters sets a dangerous precedent and threatens national security. They are calling on President Biden to resolve the delay and continue enforcing the law against Foreign Terrorist Organizations. They argue that if American citizens and companies involved live in fear of Iranian retaliation, then the enforcement of petroleum sanctions becomes irrelevant.
The letter was signed by lawmakers from both parties, including Sens. Joni Ernst, Richard Blumenthal, Lindsey Graham, and Bill Hagerty, as well as Reps. Elise Stefanik, Josh Gottheimer, Jim Banks, Don Davis, and Max Miller. They have requested a briefing on the progress of transferring the seized oil to U.S. custody and a detailed timeline of the incident and the U.S.’s response to threats from Iran.
Lawmakers are growing increasingly concerned about Iran’s aggression and the Biden administration’s failure to enforce sanctions. They believe that the administration’s approach of appeasement is making the world a less safe place and emboldening Iran. Top U.S. diplomats have been trying to restart negotiations with Iran over a nuclear deal, but critics argue that this prioritizes a flawed agreement over national security. Recent reports suggest that Iran is threatening to retaliate against U.S. civilians and corporations involved in unloading seized Iranian oil, further demonstrating the administration’s weakness. In response to recent Iranian attempts to seize commercial vessels, the U.S. military has deployed additional warships and thousands of Marines to the Middle East.
Overall, this story highlights the ongoing tensions between the U.S. and Iran and the concerns raised by lawmakers about the Biden administration’s handling of the situation.