(DCWatchdog.com) – Senate Democrats are finally waking up from their slumber and turning against Biden over the administration’s $6 billion agreement reached this summer with Iran, which secured the release of American detainees.
This internal rebellion centers on concerns regarding Iran’s potential involvement in the recent Hamas terrorist attacks against Israel. Several Senate Democrats, many of whom face competitive races in the upcoming year, are against releasing frozen assets to Iran.
The list of concerned Democrats includes Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jon Tester of Montana, Bob Casey of Pennsylvania, Jacky Rosen and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, and Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. While Sen. Cortez Masto is not up for reelection, Arizona Independent Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, who caucuses with Democrats and is yet to decide on reelection, has also voiced support for keeping the funds out of Iran’s reach.
Sen. Baldwin emphasized the need to verify that Iran was not involved in the attacks, stating, “Until I have full confidence that Iran did not play a role in these barbaric terrorist attacks on the Israeli people, the United States should freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets.” Sen. Tester echoed this sentiment, saying, “At a minimum,” the U.S. should take such action.
Sen. Casey raised similar concerns while falsely accusing Republicans of intentionally misleading the public regarding the connection between the funds and the Hamas attack.
The frozen assets in question are oil assets currently held by Qatar’s central bank, awaiting transfer to Iran. This $6 billion deal was brokered in August as part of an agreement that drew widespread criticism. Biden agreed to unfreeze the assets in exchange for releasing five Americans detained by Iran.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senator Tom Cotton are planning to request unanimous consent from the Senate to pass legislation that would block the release of these funds, potentially with the support of some Democratic senators who have expressed reservations. This move would place Democrats in the indefensible position of defending President Biden’s deal.
While there is no definitive link between Iran and the recent Hamas attack, Tehran has long supported the Hamas terrorist group, including providing financial aid, weapons, and training. The White House National Security Adviser, Jake Sullivan, acknowledged Iran’s ties to terrorism and its complicity in the attack in a broad sense.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul expressed concerns about the prisoner swap, highlighting that exchanging hostages for $6 billion in sanctions relief to Iran is a chilling move. Nonetheless, the Biden administration has stood by its decision, claiming Iran intends to use the money for humanitarian aid.