In a scathing critique of the Biden administration, Senator Tom Cotton (R-LA) vehemently criticized their defense of the $6 billion deal with Iran. Republican lawmakers, including Cotton, have been outspoken in their disapproval of the agreement, especially in the wake of the recent Hamas attack on Israel. The contentious deal involved the exchange of prisoners between the US and Iran, as well as the release of $6 billion in Iranian assets.
Cotton lashed out at the administration's justifications, deeming them "unconvincing and insincere." He accused them of acting in "bad faith" and asserted that the $6 billion was essentially a ransom payment to Iran. Additionally, he highlighted that the administration approved $10 billion in payments to Iran through Iraq and allowed for over $40 billion in relief from oil sanctions.
The arguments from the Biden administration about the $6 billion it released to Iran are so bad they could only be made in bad faith.
It’s only the latest concession that has emboldened Iran to fund terrorism. pic.twitter.com/QlKMsw8RbD
— Tom Cotton (@SenTomCotton) October 15, 2023
The senator stressed the urgent need to locate and secure any American-Israeli residents held hostage by Hamas, advocating for the "total destruction" of the terrorist organization. He clearly believes that these actions should take precedence in the administration's approach.
Despite the criticism, the White House remains unwavering in its decision to release the $6 billion in Iranian assets. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan defended this choice, citing President Biden's primary focus on repatriating unjustly detained Americans, a duty of the commander in chief.
In an attempt to counter the Biden administration's move, Representative August Pfluger (R-TX) introduced legislation that calls for a re-freeze of the transferred funds. The bill has garnered support from Republican Study Committee Chairman Kevin Hern (R-OK), Representative Joe Wilson (R-SC), and Representative Mike Gallagher (R-WI). Republican lawmakers are concerned that the $6 billion in assets could potentially aid Hamas in its attacks on Israel. They have also urged the administration to freeze Qatari bank accounts holding Iranian funds.
It is evident that Republican lawmakers are unified in their opposition to the Iran deal, primarily due to concerns about the potential funding of terrorism. The Biden administration's defense of the agreement is encountering significant resistance, as Republicans demand a more assertive stance against Iran and its proxy groups.