Blaine’s Bulletin: My Plan to Curb Iran's Terror Financing

Last week, we discussed the many appropriations bills Congress needs to pass to keep the government running. We are in the middle of that process now and are debating everything from the funding of the military to the operations of the Mark Twain National Forest.
While we certainly have plenty of domestic policy issues to work out, as I’m sure you are aware, we also face global crises, including vicious atrocities waged against Israel, our strongest ally in the Middle East and a linchpin democracy for the region. Most of my colleagues have joined me in condemning the antisemitic terrorism and remain committed to defending against Hamas.
On Wednesday, we passed a resolution committing U.S. support for Israel. Over the past days and weeks, I’ve also taken action to prevent U.S. aid from falling into the hands of our enemies, including Hamas and its leading supporter, Iran. I’ve also called on the White House and Treasury to crack down on Iran’s funding of terrorism.
As chair of the Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions, I introduced the Iran Sanctions Accountability Act to implement responsible standards of due diligence and prevent Iran from skirting sanctions.
To get around sanctions, corrupt governments like Iran take funding that is supposed to be used for aid, like food and medication, for some of the poorest people on Earth and divert it to nefarious activity like terrorism. For example, let’s say a country regularly spends $1 billion on food and medication for its people, and it recently received another $1 billion for additional humanitarian aid. Instead of spending $2 billion on aid, they divert their original $1 billion investment to other activities, like shipping rockets to Hamas, and only use the humanitarian aid they received from other countries to help their people. My bill puts an end to those practices. Along with closing loopholes, the bill forces the president to attach requirements to humanitarian aid, preventing funds from directly or indirectly supporting illicit acts like terrorism.
I’ve also led four letters to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen regarding her department’s efforts to curb Iran’s illicit finances. One letter specifically called on her to instruct the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) membership that any effort to transact in Iranian ‘Special Drawing Rights’ (SDRs) will be subject to U.S. sanctions. SDRs allow governments to access widely used currencies, like the dollar or euro, to transact international business. That gives countries like Iraq, which uses the Iraqi dinar as its currency, to trade with other countries that do not use or accept the dinar. Iran holds approximately $6.5 billion worth of Special Drawing Rights at the IMF. I aim to ensure that Iran cannot convert those SDRs into widely used currencies, cutting them off from international commerce.
The remaining three letters pertained to the $6 billion in assets the Biden administration had planned to release to Iran and oversight of the $100 million the president pledged to Gaza and the West Bank. Hamas has proven time and time again that it only sees Palestinians as human shields and will do everything it can to steal that $100 million, which will most certainly happen. We can’t stand for it.
Allowing terrorism to fester overseas will eventually bring it to our shores. Last week, while chairing a House Financial Services Subcommittee hearing on the issue, I questioned expert witnesses on terrorist attempts to enter the U.S. illegally through the southern border.  
In just the first 14 days of this fiscal year, border officials encountered 30 Iranians and 68 Syrians attempting to enter the U.S. How many got in before we even caught them? We’ll never know, but former State Department Special Advisor Gabriel Noronha confirmed there are 25 to 30 terrorist cells presently in the U.S. Fortunately, they’ve so far been thwarted.
Terrorists are unreasonable, barbaric monsters in search of destruction. As it has throughout history, the United States must remain their worst nightmare. Americans stand with freedom and the people of Israel during their darkest hour. With responsible, measured action, we can help our ally stamp out Hamas once and for all.  

CONTACT US: I encourage you to visit my official website or call my offices in Jefferson City (573-635-7232) or Cottleville (636-327-7055) with your questions and concerns. If you want even greater access to what I am working on, please visit my YouTube site, and Facebook page, and keep up to date with Twitter and Instagram.