Bill to freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets introduced by top Republican

“The Biden administration’s decision to release $6 billion to Iran was a grave mistake," Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, said.

FIRST ON FOX: Sen. Tim Scott, R-SC, Ranking Member of the Senate Banking Committee and a 2024 candidate for president, is leading a group of Republican senators introducing legislation to permanently freeze the controversial $6 billion in Iranian assets that was recently released by the United States to Iran through Qatar as part of a prisoner exchange, FOX Business has learned. 

The efforts represent the strongest effort on Capitol Hill to punish Iran for their reported coordination with Hamas ahead of the group’s devastating terror attacks against Israel on October 7th. 

The bill, named The Revoke Iranian Funding Act, will address both immediate and future concerns regarding Iran and its funding of terrorism, according to a senior Republican aide with knowledge of the legislation. 

Scott’s bill aims to permanently freeze the $6 billion of Iranian assets housed in Qatar by revoking Treasury and State General Licenses provided to the funds. 

Moreover, Scott calls on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to study all high-value Iranian assets around the world that are currently blocked by U.S. sanctions and provide that information to Congress, ensuring Congress has the information necessary to enact further targeted legislation, if necessary, according to the aide. 


"The Biden administration’s decision to release $6 billion to Iran – the world’s leading state sponsor of terror – was a grave mistake that created a market for American hostages, emboldened our adversaries, and put a credit on the balance sheets of one of Hamas’s biggest backers," said Ranking Member Scott in a statement to FOX Business. 

Israel Defense Forces

14 October 2023, Israel, Sderot: Israeli military combat vehicles and tanks are seen near the Israeli-Gaza border as fighting between Israeli troops and the militants of the Palestinian group Hamas continues.  (Photo by Ilia Yefimovich/picture alliance via Getty Images / Getty Images)

"In the wake of Hamas’s horrific attacks on Israel, it has only become clearer that this rogue regime cannot be trusted as long they continue to support terrorist organizations. My bill is a comprehensive approach to wielding our economic sanctions tools against Iran by freezing the $6 billion and ensuring Congress has the information necessary to prevent Iran from accessing funds in the future," the South Carolina senator added. 

Senator Tim Scott South Carolina

Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., questions Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell as he testifies at a Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee hearing on the Fed's "Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress," on Capitol Hill on March 3, 2022 (Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images / Getty Images)

Scott’s legislation comes as House Republicans announced similar intentions to target the funds, with House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-TX, appearing on FOX News’ "Sunday Morning Futures" vowing to freeze the funds "forever." 

"I am introducing a bill to put secondary sanctions on the Doha bank so that it freezes those six billion dollars, not temporarily, but forever. I do not want to see six billion more dollars going into Iran to feed their terror operations throughout the Middle East," McCaul said. 

To date, the Biden administration has maintained the funds have not been accessed, despite acknowledgment of Iran’s likely involvement. 


"Of course, Iran is probably complicit here and of course the resourcing and training they've given to Hamas has obviously helped [them] function and be able to conduct the terrorist attacks that they have been able to conduct," National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said on "FOX News Sunday". 

Kirby, however, insisted that the White House is keeping a close eye on the money. 

"I'm telling you that we are keeping tabs on every single dime of that - none of it has been accessed by the Iranians and even if it was, even if it was, it would go to vendors that we approve, to buy food, water medicine, and ship it into Iran, right to the Iranian people through humanitarian aid organizations. The regime never sees it," Kirby claimed. 

National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby

WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: National Security Council coordinator for strategic communications John Kirby speaks during a daily news briefing at the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room in the White House on June 23, 2023 in Washington, DC.  ((Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images) / Getty Images)

Kirby’s comments come just days after sources familiar told FOX Business last week that the U.S. has a "quiet agreement" with Qatar to block Iran from accessing the $6 billion in humanitarian aid.

Twenty Republicans are currently co-sponsors of Scott’s bill – including fellow South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham – along with GOP Senate leadership members Sen. John Cornyn, R-TX, and Sen. John Barrasso, R-WY. 

They could find support across the aisle, particularly with vulnerable Democrats in competitive states that are up for re-election in 2024.


Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-WI, Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-OH, Sen. Bob Casey, D-PA, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, Sen. Jacky Rosen, D-NV, and Sen. Jon Tester, D-MT, all up for re-election in 2024, have called on President Biden to freeze the assets while determining whether Iran indeed played a role in the attack. 

Scott, who was critical of the release of the $6 billion to Iran in August, believes action is needed in the Senate immediately. 

"We must be unequivocal that the United States will not back down and waive sanctions on frozen Iranian funds held by other nations," he concluded.