A group of 26 Republican senators raised concerns about the Biden administration bypassing congressional authority to agree to a nuclear deal with Iran.
In a letter — signed by the majority of Senate Republicans last week and addressed to Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen — the lawmakers voiced concerns with the Biden administration’s recent prisoner swap that sent $6 billion to the Iranian regime in a “secret negotiation.”
“When the Obama administration released $400 million in liquidated assets to Iran in 2016, we warned that this dangerous precedent would put a price on American lives. Seven years later, the current administration is providing a ransom payment worth at least fifteen times that amount to the world’s largest state sponsor of terror, in yet another violation of the United States’ long-standing ‘no concessions’ policy,” the senators wrote.
“The release of such a significant sum to the Iranian regime runs entirely counter to that claim and will only serve to encourage additional hostage taking for financial or political gain,” the letter continued.
The letter comes after House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Turner (R-OH) said earlier this month that the Biden administration’s prisoner swap with Iran involved a renewed Iran nuclear deal. The New York Times also reported that the agreement could increase the chances of Biden pursuing his goal of coming to the table with Iran over nuclear weapons. Last summer, Biden attempted to renew the Obama administration’s nuclear deal but ultimately failed. In 2018, former President Donald Trump withdrew from the agreement he routinely criticized as “horrible” and “one-sided.”
Republican lawmakers expressed their support for seeing American citizens freed from the tyrannical Iranian regime but expressed concerns that the deal entails unconstitutional hidden negotiations with the terrorist rulers. Iran is reportedly on the cusp of starting nuclear weapon testing as their ability to enrich weapons-grade uranium has dramatically accelerated under the Biden administration.
“We are also worried that your administration is attempting to sidestep Congress and pursue other pathways to financially compensate Iran in an attempt to renegotiate a successor to the ill-fated 2015 nuclear deal,” the senators wrote. “Any agreement with the Iranian regime that entails financial reward for malign behavior is wholly unacceptable.”
The senators laid out questions for Blinken and Yellen to answer within 30 days, “[g]iven the risk this agreement poses to the safety of American citizens overseas and broader United States national security interests.”