Legislative Round-Up- September 21, 2023

Produced by the Foundation for Middle East Peace in cooperation with Americans for Peace Now, where the Legislative Round-Up was conceived.

1. Bills, Resolutions & letters

(WE MUST DEEPEN & BROADEN ABRAHAM ACCORDS!) H. Res. 701: Introduced 9/19/23 by Schneider (D-IL) and 3 bipartisan cosponsors, “Encouraging further deepening and broadening of the Abraham Accords on occasion of the third anniversary of their signing to continue building bridges towards a lasting peace.” Referred to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(COMMEMORATING KILLING OF MAHSA AMINI) H. Res. 695: Introduced 9/18/23 by Mace (R-SC) and Jackson Lee (D-TX), “Commemorating the 1-year anniversary of the death of Mahsa Amini and the subsequent protests in Iran.” Referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

(COMBATTING SPYWARE) HR 5522 & HR 5557: Introduced 9/18/23 and 9/19/23 by Himes (D-CT), the “Combatting Foreign Surveillance Spyware Sanctions Act.Referred to the Committees on Foreign Affairs and the Judiciary.  Also see: Himes press release. NOTE: HR 5522 and HR 5557 appear to be indentical, and both involve giving the President the authority to impose various sanctions against certain foreign entities and persons involved in using foreign commercial spyware for the “targeting of United States Government officials, or personnel of the intelligence community.” NOTE: There is no obvious reason why Himes intro’d this bill twice over two days.

(REQUIRE THE US TO VIOLATE UN HQ OBLIGATIONS) HR 5550: Introduced 9/18/23 by Ongles (R-TN) and Davidson (R-OH), “To amend the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1990 and 1991 to expand the President’s authority to deny any individual’s admission to the United States as a representative to the United Nations.” Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary.

Also see:


(CONCERNS RE CHINA-IRAN ALLIANCE) Gottheimer-Tenney letter to Blinken: On 9/19/23 Reps. Gottheimer (D-NY) and Tenney (R-NY) led a letter to SecState Blinken, cosigned by 21 fellow House members (bipartisan). The letter expresses “concern over China’s burgeoning relationship with Iran“, arguing that this alliance “presents a unique challenge and dangerous partnership antithetical to American national security interests” and “cannot be tolerated.” The letter closes: “In the Middle East, our focus remains on eliminating radical, ideologically motivated terror and promoting stability and peace. The success of both of these efforts depends on maintaining our strong bilateral relationship with Israel. Above all, we must prevent Iran from ever acquiring nuclear weapons and threatening our greatest ally in the region. Yet, China’s activities in the Middle East make these already complicated challenges more difficult and dangerous. China is indifferent toward existing sanctions on Iran; Iranian support for Hamas and Hezbollah; and Iran’s continued role as the leading state sponsor of terror. We must not allow China to put our values and our vision for global stability, peace, and prosperity at risk. We encourage the Department of State to more publicly voice concern about China’s growing relationship with Iran and to fully enforce all U.S. sanctions on Iran by designating Chinese entities that violate them. We look forward to working with the Administration to protect our national interests and those of our allies from the challenges posed by China and Iran.

Also see:

(DEPORT IRANIANS RELEASED IN PRISONERS DEAL) Cotton letter to Blinken: On 9/18/23 Sen. Cotton (R-AR) sent a letter to SecState Blinken calling for him to “reverse your September 11 deal, which encourages Iran to take more hostages and gifts the regime billions of dollars” and failing that, to “at a minimum remove all Iranian agents from American soil.” The letter goes on to demand 3 questions by 5pm on 9/22/23: “(1)  Please provide the full details of the Biden administration’s September 11 agreement with Iran relating to prisoners, including any side-deals or related agreements. (2)  Are the Iranian agents reportedly planning to remain in the United States deportable under our immigration laws? Why or why not? (3)  What plan does the Biden administration have in place to monitor the activities and communications of the Iranian agents that it has agreed to release?” Also see: Cotton press release & X-post.

(IRAQI GOVT IS MISTREATING THE KURDS) Waltz-McCaul-Wilson letter to POTUS (pdf): On 9/18/23, Reps. Waltz (R-FL), McCaul (R-TX), and Wilson (R-SC) sent a letter to President Biden urging him “to make every effort to end the unacceptable treatment of Iraqi Kurds and the Iraqi Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) by Iran-aligned elements in Iraq.” The letter closes: “It is clear that the engagements Secretary Blinken cited have not contributed to a successful resolution to the crisis in Iraq and reopening of the ITP. A new Iraq strategy is necessary. We urge you to raise this issue with Prime Minister Sudani at your meeting at the UN General Assembly. We further ask to be informed of the specific, new steps you and Secretary Blinken intend to take to address this crisis.

Also see:

(HELP FREE ELIZABETH TSURKOV) Menendez-Booker letter to Blinken: On 9/11/23, Sens. Menendez (D-NJ) and Booker (D-NJ) reportedly sent a letter to SecState Blinken regarding Elizabeth Tsurkov, the Princeton graduate student [and my dear friend] taken hostage in Iraq months ago. According to NBC News, “In a letter obtained by NBC News, Democratic Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker, who both represent New Jersey, home to Princeton, conveyed their ‘grave concern’ about Elizabeth Tsurkov’s plight in their appeal to Secretary of State Antony Blinken. They called on the administration ‘to use our close and abiding relationship with Iraq to raise Elizabeth’s abduction and call for her release at every opportunity and level.’ Tsurkov, 36, is a citizen of both Israel and Russia, placing her in a ‘uniquely vulnerable position,’ the senators said. Israel is constrained in its ability to press for Tsurkov’s release, as it has no diplomatic relations with Baghdad because Iraq does not recognize Israel. And Russia has done nothing to advocate for Tsurkov’s release as she has openly criticized the Russian invasion of Ukraine, according to the letter. In the letter dated Sept. 11, the senators, both members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that ‘we believe the United States can and should play a role in advocating for her since her home countries are unable or unwilling to do so.‘”

2. Israel & AIPAC in the 2024 Election Cycle

3. Hearings & Markups

September 27, 2023: The House Foreign Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on the Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia will convene a hearing entitled, No Incentives for Terrorism: U.S. Implementation of the Taylor Force Act and Efforts to Stop ‘Pay to Slay.’” Scheduled witnesses (s0 far) are: Elliot Abrams (who was convicted of lying to Congress – but hey, why should that matter to anyone); Jonathan Schanzer (FDD); and Michael Koplow (IPF).

4. Media & Reports

5. Members on the Record

Attacking Palestinians/Defenders of Palestinians

Torres (D-NY) 9/18/23: X-post – “Anti-Zionism will NOT solve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It never has and never will. The only function Anti-Zionism performs is perpetuating conflict to the detriment of both Israelis and Palestinians. An Israeli-Palestinian peace requires mutual recognition. I associate myself with the common sense of Dr. Einat Wilf. But regrettably, when it comes to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, common sense is becoming dangerously uncommon.” Linked to Wilf’s X-post quoting herself from her book, “We Should All Be Zionists”

Gottheimer (D-NJ) 9/17/23: X-post – “I wrote to the presidents of @Princeton and @Penn because no university should be promoting anyone or any material that pushes hateful lies. There is a fine line between a sharing of ideas and hate — this crosses it. This is antisemitic hate speech masquerading as scholarship.

Israel – General

Eshoo (D-CA) 9/21/23: X-post – “It was an honor to meet leaders of the Israeli pro-democracy movement in the U.S. Capitol. While we continue to confront the challenges to our own democracy here at home, I so admire the fortitude of those who are facing down the efforts to erode Israeli democracy.”

Rosen (D-NV) 9/21/23: X-post – “I’ve worked closely with Elan Carr to fight antisemitism around the world. The @Israeliamerican Council does great work to strengthen the U.S.-Israel relationship, and I look forward to continuing to work with Elan and IAC on this shared goal.

Kustoff (R-TN) 9/20/23: X-post – “I was happy to visit with my good friend and former State Senator from Mississippi, @MerleFlowers, this morning. I appreciate your work with @AIPAC to strengthen ties between the United States and Israel. It is always great to see a familiar face up here in Washington!

Lamborn (R-CO) 9/20/23: X-post – “I commend @giladerdan1‘s actions during yesterday’s UN address by the Iranian regime. Amb. Erdan bravely protested the massacre of innocent Iranians. Meanwhile, the Biden admin sits idle. The actions of both the Biden admin & the UN are truly disgraceful.”

Rogers (R-AL) 9/20/23: X-post – “While Biden was busy pandering to the useless, hypocritical, anti-Israel, woke agenda of the UN, migrants flooded into New York City mere blocks away because of the border crisis he created. Even the Dems are starting to notice this catastrophe that is the Biden border policy.”

Hinson (R-IA) 9/20/23: X-post – Great to meet with Charles Schneider from Iowa @AIPAC. When I visited Israel, I saw firsthand the unbreakable bond that comes from our shared values, security interests, and religious ideals. Iowans stand with Israel!”

Hagerty (R-TN) 9/20/23: X-post – “Inexcusable. @POTUS met w anti-American Lula de Silva at the WH & is extending invite to Iran-backed Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. Yet the leader of Israel–America’s strongest ally in the Middle East—can’t get an invitation bc #Biden is beholden to the far-left.

Cruz (R-TX) 9/20/23: X-post – Yesterday, the Biden admin and the United Nations gave the Ayatollah’s handpicked President a platform to propagandize and promote terrorism. Meanwhile, they both target our Israel and Israeli officials. It’s absolutely outrageous.

Gimenez (R-FL) 9/19/23: X-post – “The democratic, Jewish State of #Israel stands for freedom and Human Rights! Thank you Ambassador @giladerdan1!” Linked to Israel Ambassador to the UN Gilad Erdan’s X-post of him protesting Iranian president Raisi at the UN.

Cherfilus-McCormick (D-FL) X-post – “Israel is an essential partner as the U.S. looks to deepen its engagement across Africa. I sat down with @J_Insider to recap my latest trip to Israel and Rwanda alongside several of my @TheBlackCaucus colleagues.

Graham (R-SC) 9/19/23: X-thread – “The efforts to normalize the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Israel – and eventually have Saudi Arabia recognize Israel – are at a tipping point. It is understood there will have to be some relief for the Palestinian people as part of this agreement. However, I hope it is equally understood that Israel’s effort to help the Palestinians cannot jeopardize their own security. I stand ready to help in any way possible to push this historic opportunity forward.

Mast (R-FL) 9/17/23: X-post – “America stands with democracy. That means we stand with Taiwan, not with China. That means we stand with Israel, not with Iran. America will be the beacon of hope for those who are under attack by the tyranny of totalitarianism.

Bacon (R-NE) 9/16/23: X – “As we celebrate the anniversary of the Abraham Accords, I was pleased to join the Atlantic Council N7 summit to discuss the ways the U.S. has encouraged and supported a regional partnership between Israel and other Arab nations.” NOTE: Bacon responded to several people on X that criticizd this post — GirlGaza98 responded, “The Abraham Accords are indeed historic in how they celebrate criminals instead of delivering them to justice!”; Bacon retorted, “Make peace with Israel and it will happen.” Raghad652960 responded, “Since the signing of these agreements, the occupation has killed more than 740 Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank, and the list continues to increase!Bacon retorted, “How many rockets were fired into Israel first?”

Saudi Arabia (except for normalization)

Garcia (D-CA) 9/20/23: X-post – “Hey @BretBaier, did you ask the Saudi Crown Prince about the $2 billion he sent to Jared Kushner’s firm 2 months after he left the White House?” Linked to Bret Baier X-post, “Don’t miss my exclusive interview with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman tonight on #SpecialReport

Garcia (D-CA) 9/20/23: X-post – “I’ve been calling out the Trump and Kushner Crime Family for months, and I won’t stop speaking out until we get the investigation we deserve. Why did Jared Kushner receive $2 billion from the Saudi Government 2 months after leaving the White House? We need answers.” [With video]

Cornyn (R-TX) 9/18/23: floor statement on JASTA, including, “President Biden still hasn’t taken a public position on fixing JASTA, but his administration seems to be leaning toward camp 2, siding with the Saudis over the 9/11 families. High-ranking Biden officials have dusted off the Saudi talking points that we once heard from the Obama administration.”

Garcia (D-CA) 9/16/23: X-post – “Why did Jared Kushner receive $2 billion from Saudi Arabia months after leaving the White House? We won’t stop until we get answers.”


McCaul (R-TX) 9/21/23: X-post – “CHM @RepMcCaul: ‘I strongly condemn Assad’s visit to China. China’s willingness to welcome such a brutal war criminal who has murdered thousands of Syrian civilians, w/ backing from Russia & Iran, underscores the threat posed by China & its friends in Russia, Iran, & Syria.'”

Targeting the UN

Risch (R-ID) 9/20/23: press release – Risch: UNGA Has Once Again Proved the Need for UN Reform

Iranian President Raisi at the UN

Ernst (R-IA) 9/21/23: X-post – “Make no mistake – President Biden enabled Iran to threaten Americans on our soil.”

Ernst (R-IA) 9/20/23: X-post – “President Biden must stop appeasing Iran. We should not be welcoming the leader of the NUMBER ONE state sponsor of terrorism to peddle his propaganda on U.S. soil.

Green (R-TN) 9/20/23: X-post – “This is who President Biden made a deal with. Make no mistake, the Iranian regime is our enemy.” Linked to article, Iran’s president threatens U.S. officials from the U.N. podium, dimming hopes for a rapprochement (New York Times 9/20/23)

Rubio (R-FL) 9/20/23: X-post – Just one day after Biden released $6 billion as ransom for American hostages the ‘president’ of Iran appeared before the UN General Assembly in New York & vowed to assassinate former American government officials”

Blackburn (R-TN) 9/20/23: X-post – “$6 billion later and Iran still hates freedom and the USA.

Scott (R-FL) 9/19/23: X-post – “.@JoeBiden’s @UN speech was filled with warnings against turning away from “abuses” across the globe. So why did he give criminal human rights abusers & state sponsors of terror like Cuba’s Diaz-Canel & Iran’s Raisi visas to get in the room? He should practice what he preaches. El discurso @UN de @JoeBiden estuvo lleno de advertencias contra los “abusos” en todo el mundo. Entonces, ¿por qué les dio visas a criminales que violan los derechos humanos y a estados patrocinadores del terrorismo como Díaz-Canel de Cuba y Raisi de Irán para que tengan un puesto en la sala? Biden debería practicar lo que predica.

Cruz (R-TX) 9/19/23: X-post – “Disgraceful. The SEVER Act I authored would prohibit the Biden admin from allowing Iran’s president, a mass-murdering monster handpicked by the Ayatollah, entrance into the US. Beyond time for Congress to pass it.

Ernst (R-IA) 9/18/23: X-post – Iran’s President Raisi is a serial human rights abuser and a mass murderer with a history of targeting Americans. The Butcher of Tehran should not be afforded the privilege of stepping on American soil, but is being welcomed by the UN.

Murphy (D-CT) 9/18/23: X-post – “I do. The President of Iran also flew to New York to appear at the UN in every year of Trump’s presidency when there was a full in person UNGA. Stop playing politics with the UN.” Responding to Mike Pompeo X-post responding to arrival of Raisi in New York, I am not sure where to begin.

Britt (R-AL) 9/18/23: press release – “This disgraceful decision is the latest in a long line of dangerous appeasement by the Biden Administration. Just two days ago, Iran reportedly expelled several senior International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors from the country. Now, President Biden is sending a clear message to the world that the United States of America tolerates terrorism. On the very same day that the Biden Administration hands $6 billion to the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world, the President chooses to allow the unapologetic leader of this ruthless regime into our country. This weakness endangers our national security, insults the Americans and allies struck by Iranian-backed terrorism across the globe, and abandons oppressed people in Iran who hunger for liberty, peace, and safety. We achieve peace through strength, not placation. The safety and security of all Americans is gravely imperiled by President Biden’s continued blunders on the global stage.” Also see X-post

McCaul (R-TX) 9/18/23: X-post – “CHM @RepMcCaul: ‘Deeply disappointed by the E3’s refusal to ‘snap back’ UN sanctions on Iran. Just days later, Iran kicked out one third of the IAEA’s Iran inspectors. Iran continues to antagonize the IAEA and international community. Strong action is needed.’”

Cruz (R-TX) 9/15/23: press release – Sens. [sic] Cruz Introduces Legislation to Block Biden Administration From Allowing Iranian President into U.S. [the SEVER Act – for details see last week’s Round-Up)

Iran – Nuclear Program & Sanctions

Ernst (R-IA) 9/21/23: X-post – “President Biden’s failure to enforce existing sanctions on Iran has made America and the world less safe. This posture of appeasement and weakness must end.

McCaul (R-TX) 9/20/23: X-post – “ICYMI CHM @RepMcCaul joined @kaitlancollins to discuss the Biden admin’s weak foreign policy toward Iran and Putin’s unprovoked war of aggression against Ukraine. WATCH” [with video clip]

LaTurner (R-KS) 9/19/23: X-thread – Under President Biden, we’ve witnessed the unraveling of the Iran Nuclear Deal, the failure to enforce economic sanctions designed to protect America’s national security, and just last week, on the anniversary of 9/11, a $6 billion ransom payment to the Iranian regime—the largest per-hostage payout in American history. The American people deserve transparency, leadership on the world stage, and a comprehensive strategy to combat Iran’s aggression.

Lawler (R-TN) 9/19/23: X-thread – “The only reason Iran would bar inspectors from monitoring their nuclear program is because they are up to no good. The $6 billion the Biden Administration just gave them will unquestionably be put toward nefarious ends. We must remain vigilant and use every tool in our tool chest to stop a nuclear Iran, one of the gravest threats to global security.”

Tenney (R-FL) 9/18/23: X-post – “If our E3 partners really want to stop Iran from gaining a nuclear weapon, they should invoke Snapback Sanctions on Iran under UNSCR 2231 today!

Hagerty (R-TN) 9/18/23: X-post – “Another week & another example of Iran taking advantage of Biden’s weakness. In return for sanctions relief, Iran expels nuclear inspectors. Biden must snap back U.S. & international sanctions—not pay for Iran’s nuclear program thru sanctions relief.

Ernst (R-FL) 9/18/23: X-post – “No surprise that, as the IRGC runs away with $6 billion to enrich uranium and increase nuclear capabilities, it bars inspectors.   Make no mistake, Iran is not negotiating in good faith.

Rubio (R-FL) 9/18/23: X-thread – “Although @USTreasury’s OFAC is imposing economic sanctions towards 29 entities tied to the oppressive Iranian regime, it still has not sanctioned the regime’s leadership. 1/2 The Biden Administration has failed to take important steps like sanctioning the Ayatollah, Iran’s President, and their cronies. My bipartisan MAHSA Act would require these actions. 2/2

Anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s Murder

Murphy (D-CT) 9/18/23: press release – Murphy Statement on Release of Morad Tahbaz

Cardin (D-MD) 9/18/23: press release – Cardin Statement on the Release of Americans from Iran

Menendez (D-NJ) 9/16/23: press release – Chairman Menendez Statement on One Year Anniversary of Murder of Mahsa Amini

Merkley (D-OR) 9/16/23: X-post – “One year ago, Mahsa Amini was brutally murdered by a regime that continually denies the Iranian people their inherent human rights and fundamental freedoms. Today, we honor Mahsa’s memory and reaffirm our solidarity with Iranians demanding better for their country.

Sherman (D-CA) 9/16/23: X-thread – Today marks one year since the tragic death of #MahsaAmini that sparked many brave #Iranians to demand a government that finally respects the human rights of #Iran‘s citizens. As we reflect on this solemn anniversary, we must remember that now is not the time to look away. 1/2 In the last year, the #Iranian people showed that a free #Iran is not just a possibility – it’s an inevitability. I believe one day, hopefully soon, we’ll look back at the #IranProtests that erupted after #MahsaAmini‘s murder as the start of the end of the Ayatollah regime. 2/2

Levin (D-CA) 9/16/23: X-post – “Today marks one year since Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of the Iranian regime and the massive protests that followed. I was proud to vote in support of the MAHSA Act, the Fight CRIME Act, and a resolution condemning Iran’s persecution of the Baha’i minority this week.

Porter (D-CA) 9/16/23: X-post – “On the anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s death at the hands of Iran’s “morality police,” I’m standing with Iranians in their ongoing fight for peace and freedom. I cosponsored and helped pass the MAHSA Act earlier this week, and I’ll continue to honor her legacy in Congress.

Coons (D-DE) 9/16/23: X-thread – “A year ago, Mahsa Amini was killed by Iran‘s “morality police” for wearing a hijab improperly. Her death sparked the largest wave of protests in Iran in years, as thousands of brave Iranians called on the government to end its persecution of women and improve basic human rights. As Co-Chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, @SenThomTillis and I stand with the peaceful protestors and the prisoners of conscience in Iran. We’re committed to supporting human rights as cornerstones of our nation’s foreign policy.

Murray (D-WA) 9/16/23: X-post – “Today marks the one year anniversary of the brutal murder of #MahsaAmini at the hands of the Iranian government. I stand with the many women in Iran & people in Washington state & across the country who have not backed down in the fight for justice—& for women’s rights.”

Panetta (X-CA) 9/16/23: X-post – One year ago, Mahsa Amini reportedly was beaten to death by Iran’s morality police, sparking nationwide protests and worldwide outrage. My full statement on this anniversary and the work ahead…

Wilson (R-SC) 9/16/23: X-post – “On 9/16/2022 Mahsa Amini, a vibrant 22-year old woman, was murdered by regime morality police. Over 600 have been murdered and 20k detained in the over 4,000 protests following MAHSA’s murder. The brave people of Iran are seen, admired, and freedom will one day be yours.

Durbin (D-IL) 9/16/23: X-post – “Today marks the one-year anniversary of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Iranian police custody. Sept. 16th will long remain a somber day of remembrance for the Iranian people. The U.S. stands with them. #MahsaAmini”

Moore (R-UT) 9/16/23: X-post – “On the anniversary of Mahsa Jina Amini’s death, we stand in solidarity with Iranian women & girls in their fight against gender apartheid in Iran & join Iran’s civil society leaders in calling for a referendum that will set Iran on the path to free & fair elections. Woman, life, freedom! #utpol”

Calvert (R-CA) 9/16/23: X-post – “The death of Mahsa Amini one year ago was a call to action. Today, we stand with the brave men and women demanding change in Iran. #MahsaAmini

Padilla (D-CA) 9/16/23: X-post – “One year ago, Mahsa Amini died tragically at the hands of the regime in Tehran. Read my statement with @SenMarcoRubio on the need to hold the Ayatollah and top Iranian leaders accountable for their human rights abuses below.”

Shaheen (D-NH) 9/16/23: X-post – “Mahsa Amini should be alive today. In the year since her senseless death, women across Iran have taken to the streets to demand their rights and freedoms. We must continue to support them in their fight for equality and hold Iran accountable for its disregard for human rights.

Murphy (D-CT) 9/16/23: X-post – “One year ago, Iranian authorities killed Mahsa Amini for wearing a loose hijab. Her death inspired a movement, and this weekend we pay tribute to all the brave women in Iran who are standing up for basic human dignity. #WomanLifeFreedom

Tenney (R-NY) 9/16/23: X-post – “Today, we come together to remember & honor Mahsa Amini, a courageous 22-year-old Iranian woman who has continued to make a lasting impact on Iran & the world. Let us continue to advocate for protecting human rights & the dignity of all individuals in Iran & around the world.

Lawler (R-NY) 9/16/23: X-thread – On our first day back after the recess, the House overwhelmingly passed three bipartisan bills targeting Iran for its aggression and human rights violations, including the MAHSA Act. Today is the one-year anniversary of Mahsa Amini’s murder by Iran. I hope that the Senate will pass all three of these bills expeditiously, and I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to pass the SHIP Act, my bill to go after those who enable Iran to evade petroleum sanctions. This bill now has over 175 cosponsors in the House.”

Kim (X-CA) 9/16/23: X-post – “#MahsaAmini died at the hands of the Iranian regime one year ago today after being detained by Iran’s morality police for not wearing a hijab. Her death inspired the #IranProtests that are heard around the world. To the people of Iran: America hears you & stands with you.

Supporting/Defending Iran Prisoner Release Deal and/or welcoming hostages home

Norton (D-DC) 9/21/23: X-post – “I’m thrilled DC resident Emad Shargi has been returned home safely after being imprisoned in Iran since 2018.   Thank you to Pres. Biden and Sec. Blinken for prioritizing his case and ensuring Mr. Shargi’s safe return home.” Also see press release.

Crow (D-CO) 9/19/23: X-post – “Went on @Morning_Joe to correct the record on the Iran prisoner swap.” [with video]

Murphy (D-CT) 9/19/23: X-post – “Not sure what the point is of framing this as “U.S. says this and Iran says that” story, when the truth is readily available. Why not just report the actual truth, which is that the structure of the deal only allows the money to be released for things like food and health care?” Responding to X-post from NBC Nightly News, “Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi spoke to @LesterHoltNBC in an exclusive interview about the prisoner exchange between the U.S. and Iran. Raisi says Iran can do whatever it wants with $6 billion in unfrozen funds, but the U.S. says Iran can only use it for humanitarian purposes.

Crow (D-CO) 9/19/23: X-thread – “Thank you @POTUS for bringing our people home. Some facts on the Iran prisoner swap The US should never leave our people behind. Every Administration, Republican and Democrat, has negotiated these types of deals. 1/4 The $6 billion was already Iran’s money from a Trump-negotiated deal, which allowed countries to purchase Iranian oil in exchange for humanitarian supplies. 2/4 Iran doesn’t receive the $6 billion, just the medical and humanitarian supplies purchased with that money. 3/4 Through this new deal, the US actually added further oversight and restrictions on the Trump-negotiated deal and use of the funds. 4/4

Menendez (D-NJ) 9/18/23: press release – Chairman Menendez Statement on the Return of Americans Detained in Iran [NOTE: includes – “Travel to countries like Iran, Russia, North Korea, Venezuela, or the People’s Republic of China is simply too dangerous. The United States cannot permit travel by U.S. citizens to hostile nations to become a source of ransom that then is used for their nefarious activities.“]

Feinstein (D-CA) 9/18/23: press release – Feinstein Statement on Release of American Hostages by Iran

Himes (D-CT) 9/18/23: press release – Himes Statement on the Release of Morad Tahbaz from Iranian Detention

Murphy (D-CT) 9/18/23: X-post – “The $6B isn’t “ransom” and Esper knows it. South Korea bought $6B of Iranian oil and never paid for it, wary of sanctions. In 2020 (when Esper was Sec Def!) Trump signed off on the $$ being transferred to Iran for humanitarian needs.

Cardin (D-MD) 9/18/23: X-thread – “Five Americans are on their way home to their families today after being unjustly imprisoned in Iran for years. This took a lot of diplomacy and goodwill from several countries. I look forward to seeing them reunited with their loved ones in the United States. We should never turn our backs on Americans unjustly imprisoned abroad. Those released today were not alone. We should not forget that there are numerous other Americans who are still detained, in Iran and elsewhere.The Iranian people continue to suffer under the current hardline regime. As such, the Iranian funds released today are strictly reserved for humanitarian aid, primarily food, agricultural goods and medicine that are not subject to sanctions. The Administration has stated that if Iran tries to divert the funds that they will take action to freeze the funds. Congress will be monitoring and will hold the executive branch to this pledge.” Also see: Cardin press release.

Attacking Iran Prisoner Release Deal

Duncan (R-SC) 9/21/23: X-post – The Biden Administration negotiated a prisoner swap with Iran, a state sponsor of terrorism, and put a target on the back of every American. Biden traded 6 Americans for 6 Iranians and gave Iran $6 billion dollars. America should NEVER pay ransoms as it sends a message to nefarious countries that they can target American citizens and get a pay day from the government. It’s time we get tough on sponsors of terrorism, not negotiate with them.

Stefanik (R-NY) 9/21/23: X-post – “Secretary Blinken admitted there is no way to control how Iran spends the $6 billion President Biden gave them.  I’ve been sounding the alarm for weeks about this issue.  Joe Biden should have NEVER given these funds to Iran. He is endangering Americans everywhere.

Cruz (R-TX) 9/21/23: X-post – “Even Biden officials admit Iran is Russia’s top weapons supplier. But in just the last few weeks they have made  available $16 billion for Iran, which will be used for terrorism against Americans & Russian aggression against Ukraine. Then they act surprised when the war drags on.” [with clip from Fox News appearance]

Loudermilk (R-GA) 9/20/23: X-post – “Watch as Secretary Blinken admits there is no way to control how Iran spends the $6 billion dollars President Biden gave to them in exchange for five American prisoners. This is a stunning admission, since this administration has repeatedly told us this money would only be allowed to be spent for humanitarian purposes.”

Babin (R-TX) 9/20/23: X-post – I’m glad Americans are home, but giving $6 BILLION to Iran – the world’s lead sponsor of terror – is a horrific foreign policy decision. All Biden’s done is encourage more U.S. kidnappings by Iran & enable the nation to inflict more harm on us/our allies.

Bilirakis (R-FL) 9/20/23: X-post – The taxpayer dollars given to the rogue Iranian regime in this dangerous and naïve exchange will be used to fund state sponsored proxy terror operations. The Biden Administration is helping Iran build its nuclear offensive system.”

Ernst (R-IA) 9/19/23: press release – Ernst Calls Biden’s Bluff on Iran Appeasement

Tenney (R-NY) 9/19/23: X-post – “US National Jamshid Sharmahd has been held in an Iranian prison for over 1,000 days since he was kidnapped by the Iranian government during a layover in Dubai. The US must work to free all of our political prisoners without using US tax dollars to fund terrorism. #SaveSharmahd.

Britt (R-AL) 9/19/23: X-post – “This man, who passed highly sensitive information to Iran, is one of the five prisoners let go by President Biden. It’s clear that his Administration is more interested in handcuffing our Border Patrol than keeping Iranian spies in actual handcuffs.

McClain (R-MI) 9/19/23: X-post – “Biden’s cash drop to the Iranian regime sends a dangerous message to America’s enemies: Take our citizens hostage and the President will pay you whatever you want.

Cotton (R-AR) 9/19/23: X-post – “Now that the ayatollahs know they can get billions of dollars and Iranian agents back in exchange for hostages, what will stop them from taking more American hostages? Absolutely nothing.

Ernst (R-IA) 9/19/23: X-post – “President Biden must stop incentivizing Iran’s hostage ‘diplomacy.’

Blackburn (R-TN) 9/19/23: X-post – “First, Biden handed over $6 billion to Iran in a prisoner swap. Now, he’s allowed Iranian President Raisi to enter the U.S. and address the United Nations. @POTUS — stop kowtowing to Iran.”

Ernst (R-IA) 9/19/23: X-post – “President Biden’s failed strategy of appeasement toward Iran must end.

Cruz (R-TX) 9/18/23: X-post – Joe Biden just gifted at least $16 billion to the Russia-Iran war machine attacking Ukraine. He is pouring billions into both sides of the war. And look how hard journalists are working to falsely defend Biden and blame Republicans!

Perry (R-PA) 9/18/23: X-post – While relieved 5 Americans held hostage by the terrorist-supporting regime in Iran are reunited with families, it’s outrageous the Biden Administration is incentivizing hostage taking by sending $6 billion of fungible money likely to find its way toward killing more Americans.”

Blackburn (R-TN) 9/18/23: X-post – “Biden is allowing two Iranian prisoners released from jail to remain in the U.S. Deport them immediately.

McConnell (R-KY) 9/18/23: Floor statement – Biden Iran Policy ‘Incentivizing Tehran’s Bad Behavior’  [Also see McConnell X-post linked to YouTube clip]

Moran (R-KS) 9/18/23: X-post – “The United States and our partners must band together to collectively enforce punishments on Iran and any other nation who hold innocent people for political purposes

Rubio (R-FL) 9/18/23: X-thread – “While it’s a relief to know 5 U.S. citizens are returning home, this Admin is not only leaving behind two U.S. permanent residents who remain wrongfully detained, but also sending Iran & other U.S. adversaries the message that they can profit from taking Americans hostage. 1/2 @POTUS  and his administration need to pursue a policy that deters, not rewards, hostage taking. 2/2

Graham (R-SC) 9/18/23: X-thread – I am always glad when Americans are released from captivity, particularly from terrorist nations like Iran. However, the substance of this deal will be a nightmare for American national security interests for decades to come. Now it is clear to any terrorist state or organization that kidnapping Americans is a very lucrative endeavor. The Biden response confirms they will fork out billions to meet terrorists demands. The appropriate response would have been to challenge the terrorist regime in Iran and make it clear that if they do not release innocent Americans, it will be the Iranians who pay the heavy price. Iran’s economy depends almost exclusively on oil and gas revenue. When necessary, their refineries should be the targets and they should be reminded of this at every turn.

Moore Capito (R-WV) 9/18/23: X-post – “Today, the Biden admin went through on its prisoner swap with the leading state sponsor of terrorism. While I’m glad these Americans are coming home, this was the wrong deal at the wrong time. These funds will only further the Iranian regime’s aggression and nuclear ambitions.

Blackburn (R-TN) 9/18/23: X-post – “Biden’s $6,000,000,000 Iran deal only encourages bad actors, funds terrrorism, and further enables the world’s largest state sponsor of terror. Biden’s weakness on the world stage knows no limits.

Hawley (R-MO) 9/18/23: X-post – “The Iranian dictatorial regime cashed in on a sweet deal with the Biden Admin, receiving prisoners AND sanctions relief.

Cline (R-VA) 9/18/23: X-post – Iran is a destabilizing force and the leading sponsor of terrorism in the region. That’s something that shouldn’t be rewarded. Why would the sitting President hand over $6 BILLION to Iran?

Green (R-GA) 9/18/23: X-post – “Illegal aliens are invading America by planes, trains, and automobiles, and being mass released into our country. It’s not shocking coming from an administration that loses F-35s and releases Iranian terrorists.

McCaul (R-TX) 9/18/23: press release – McCaul Statement on Release of Americans Held Hostage in Iran [also see X-post]

Cotton (R-IN) 9/18/23: X-post – “Two of the five Iranians released as part of this terrible deal will stay in the U.S. Joe Biden’s embarrassing appeasement not only makes Iran stronger, it makes America less safe.

Blackburn (R-TN) 9/18/23: X-post – “On the anniversary of 9/11, Joe Biden handed over $6 billion to Iran.   Under this administration, our enemies are getting stronger.

Phillips (D-MN) 9/18/23: X-post – “Iran is a clear and present danger, and the prisoner swap deal is disconcerting on the surface. That said, it’s irresponsible to draw conclusions until the Administration shares more information. I’m hopeful there’s more than meets the eye, and will opine once that’s clear.”

Cruz (R-TX) 9/17/23: X-post – “RELEASE: Sen. Cruz Blasts Biden-Iran Nuclear Side Deal on Hostages

Cruz (R-TX) 9/16/23: X-post – The Biden administration just paid a $16 billion ransom to the Ayatollah.    They are giving money to a murderous regime that routinely chants ‘Death to Israel’ and ‘Death to America.‘”

McClain (R-MI) 9/16/23: X-post – “Make no mistake, Biden’s agreement with Iran is no sweetheart deal, it’s blatant funding for terrorism.

Turner (R-OH) 9/16/23: X-post – “Putting a price on American citizens incentivizes our adversaries to take hostages. Today, I spoke with @MargBrennan on @FaceTheNation about my concerns with the Biden Administration’s deal with Iran to free the prisoners being held overseas.

Scott (R-FL) 9/16/23: X-thread – “Dictators and thugs with a track record of sponsoring terrorism & undermining democracy have NO place in the U.S., let alone the @UN. @JoeBiden needs to end his weak appeasement policies & deny the Iranian and Cuban delegations’ visas immediately. Los dictadores y matones con un historial de patrocinar el terrorismo y socavar la democracia NO tienen lugar en Estados Unidos, y mucho menos en la @ONU_es. @JoeBiden necesita poner fin a sus débiles políticas de apaciguamiento y negar las visas a las delegaciones de Iran y Cuba de inmediato.

Reschenthaler (R-PA) 9/16/23: X-post – “The Biden Administration’s hostage ransom deal with Iran is an unmitigated disaster. Appeasing the world’s largest state sponsor of terror emboldens our adversaries, disheartens our allies, and puts a price on the head of every American abroad.”

Libya & Morocco

Bowman (D-NY) 9/19/23: X-post – “Sending peace and love to the people of Libya” [with video message]