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ICYMI: Ernst on Iranian Aggression: “Posture of Appeasement Must End”

The Biden administration is lax on sanctions enforcement, provided $6 billion to Iran

WASHINGTON – In case you missed it, while the Biden administration’s lack of enforcement has emboldened Iranian aggression, Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) led a bipartisan, bicameral group of lawmakers in demanding action against Iran’s threats.

Because of the Biden administration’s ongoing appeasement – including allowing an Iranian oil tanker to remain off the coast of Texas for months – Iran has ramped up its illicit oil sales, which have a direct impacton the IRGC’s funding of terrorism efforts. Instead of enforcing existing sanctions, the Biden administration is paying $6 billion to the regime that will embolden its hostage “diplomacy.” In the bipartisan letter, Ernst called for an end to this posture of appeasement.

Highlights from coverage of Ernst’s bipartisan work include:



Reuters: Lawmakers urge Biden to resolve offloading delay of seized Iran oil tanker

“The delay in discharging the cargo is also partly out of fear of repercussions from Iran. A senior commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards' navy said last month Iran would retaliate against any oil company unloading Iranian oil from a seized tanker.

“Senators Joni Ernst, a Republican, and Richard Blumenthal, a Democrat, and other lawmakers in the Senate and U.S. House said in the letter to Biden and senior administration officials that enforcement of petroleum sanctions will become irrelevant if American citizens and companies involved constantly live in fear of Iranian retaliation.”



Daily Mail: Lawmakers demand that Biden silences Iranian threats that have left $56 MILLION of oil sitting on seized tanker off the coast of Texas

“Republican Sen. Joni Ernst, who organized the letter, said Biden had to take action. 'Iran's increased aggression is a direct result of President Biden's appeasement, and now they have been so emboldened that the I.R.G.C. is shamelessly calling the shots in U.S. waters,' she told 'This is not the time for weakness toward our foreign adversary, but the Biden administration is paying Iran $6 billion, which encourages Iran's hostage "diplomacy," greenlights additional funding for their terrorist activities, and endangers more Americans.'

“Last week, the White House confirmed it was working on a deal that would bring home five Americans held in an Iranian jail. Part of the agreement involves releasing $6 billion in seized assets to a bank in Qatar, allowing Tehran to use it for humanitarian purchases, such as food and medicine. For now, the oil is stranded.”



Fox News: Bipartisan group of lawmakers demand Biden offload seized Iranian oil tanker

“A bipartisan group of lawmakers led by Sens. Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., penned a letter to President Biden demanding he resolve a delay regarding the transfer of thousands of barrels of oil from a seized Iranian oil tanker.

"’For months, I have called on President Biden to stand up to Iran and enforce our sanctions and laws,’ Ernst told Fox News Digital. ‘Instead, he has doubled down on his posture of appeasement, emboldening the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) to intimidate American companies in our own waters. This is unacceptable. The Biden administration must reverse their weak posture, so Americans know their lives and livelihoods will be protected against terrorists’ intimidation attempts.’"



Politico: National Security Daily

“The letter makes clear that the administration is starting to feel bipartisan pressure to do something to resolve the standoff.”



AL-Monitor: US lawmakers question if Iranian 'intimidation effort' delaying seized oil transfer

“Iran’s oil sales abroad have climbed despite existing sanctions. At 1.5 million barrels per day, Iran’s exports to China reached a 10-year high in August, according to figures from data intelligence firm Kpler. Critics charge the Biden administration has been slow to enforce sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry, creating a cash windfall that Iran has used to quash anti-government protests, finance proxy attacks abroad and provide armed drones to Russia for use in Ukraine.

“Tehran will gain limited access to $6 billion of its frozen assets, which can be used only for humanitarian purchases such as food and medicine. Republicans seized on the arrangement as one that would incentivize further hostage taking and free up funds for Iran to use on other malign activities. ‘Iran’s increased aggression is a direct result of President Biden’s appeasement, and now they have been so emboldened that the IRGC is shamelessly calling the shots in US waters,’ Ernst said in a statement to Al-Monitor. ‘The Biden administration doubled down on this posture and paid Iran $6 billion just last week.’”



Daily Caller: ‘Lack Of Action’: Bipartisan Group Of Lawmakers Demand Biden Admin Answer For Iranian ‘Intimidation’ Of US Companies

“Republican Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, along with lawmakers from the House and the Senate, demanded that Biden take action regarding $52 million of seized Iranian oil aboard the Suez Rajan tanker that has yet to be transferred to the U.S., despite having arrived off Galveston’s coast months ago, according to the letter. The U.S. Coast Guard has already cleared the oil for transfer, but U.S. companies have been unwilling to unload it out of fear of retaliation from Iran, The Wall Street Journal reported.

“Ernst scolded the Biden administration for allowing Iran to successfully stall the transfer, and noted that the unresolved situation represents a larger danger of Iran becoming increasingly aggressive towards the U.S.”

Follow more recent coverage of Ernst’s work on this issue here:

In April, Ernst and Blumenthal led the bipartisan push demanding President Biden enforce much-needed sanctions on Iranian oil and gas shipments. 

As co-chair of the Abraham Accords Caucus, Ernst has led the bipartisan MARITIME Act to unite Middle East partners against Iranian maritime threats, which was included as a provision in the Senate-passed NDAA.