October 12, 2023

Gallego, Gallagher Call on Biden Administration to Freeze Iranian Assets

WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Ruben Gallego (AZ-03), ranking member of the House Armed Services subcommittee on Intelligence and Special Operations, called for the freezing of Iranian assets, including the $6 billion that was recently unfrozen in a prisoner swap.

"Iran has a long and storied track record of malign behavior and supporting terrorism worldwide, including Hamas and Hezbollah,” said Rep. Gallego.“As we learn more about Iran's role in these horrific terrorist attacks against Israel, one thing is clear: we should immediately freeze the $6 billion in assets and use available tools to discourage Iran’s illicit conduct. Our ally Israel is at war, and while the conflict continues, we must stand united."

Although it currently does not appear that the $6 billion — required only for humanitarian aid — was used to fund these terrorist attacks in Israel, Iran is a long-time supporter of terrorist organizations, including Hamas and Hezbollah.

In addition to his statement, Rep. Gallego joined Rep. Mike Gallagher (WI-08) in a letter callingfor the Biden Administration to take specific actions on Iranian assets, including:

  1. Freezing the $6 billion provided in exchange for hostages, as well as the $10 billion in released funds based in Iraq, and withhold all waivers, general licenses and specific licenses for the use of use of such funds. In September, the State Department said, “we have the ability to freeze [the released funds] again if we need to.” The events of this weekend demonstrate such a necessity.

  1. Fully enforcing sanctions on Iranian oil exports to China, which have been unenforced for months, despite China’s crude oil imports from Iran having set a new record.

  1. Preventing Iran from accessing any further Special Drawing Rights (SDR) from the International Monetary Fund, through which they have quick access to $6.7 billion, and blocking the further provision of funds to Iran in upcoming SDR packages.

Yesterday, Rep. Gallego held a one-on-one call with the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, Michael Herzog, to discuss the Hamas terrorist attacks and how Congress intends to support Israel. Gallego also introduced a bipartisan resolution underscoring the United States’ support for Israel, condemning Hamas’ brutal war on Israel, and mourning those who were killed.

WATCH: Gallego on MSNBC: ‘We will stand with Israel. We will help them in this fight against terrorism. We will be there every step of the way.’

On Saturday, Rep. Gallego released a statement condemning the attack, calling the unprovoked terrorist attacks by Hamas “alarming and horrifying.”