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Luetkemeyer, Huizenga Criticize State Department’s Renewal of Iraq/Iran Electricity Waiver

The congressmen sent a letter to Secretary of State Anthony Blinken earlier this month warning against the move and requesting clarification on the rationale behind it. The State Department neglected to respond.

Congressmen Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-3), Chairman of the Subcommittee on National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions, and Bill Huizenga (MI-4), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, have each made statements criticizing the U.S. State Department’s naive and ill-timed decision to renew a sanctions waiver on Iranian electricity sales to Iraq.

The waiver was set to expire yesterday, Nov. 15, but Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has extended its effectiveness, granting Iran access to roughly $10 billion in revenue from Iraq. The decision rewards and emboldens Iran at a time when its hostile government continues to financially support terrorist groups including Hamas. 

The latest waiver includes changes made in July allowing the money to move out of Iraq and into a hard currency (Euros) further obfuscating any anti-money-laundering measures.

“From top to bottom, the Biden administration is ignorant to the threats our enemies present. The Iranian government is rife with money laundering risk and is actively financing terrorism around the world. We cannot trust them with any funds as they pledge the destruction of our friends and our way of life,” Rep. Luetkemeyer said. “This asinine decision is irresponsible and unforgiveable.”

“It is unthinkable for the Biden administration to blindly offer sanctions relief to Iran while keeping Congress in the dark,” Congressman Bill Huizenga said. “Instead of working with Congress, they are choosing to double down, ignoring the Iranian regime’s involvement in the horrific attacks of October 7th. Our committee will continue to press for answers until we know that Iran’s government is starved of the resources it needs to continue being world’s leading state sponsor of terror.”

In October, Rep. Luetkemeyer led a National Security, Illicit Finance, and International Financial Institutions Subcommittee hearing focused on Iran’s practice of evading sanctions. The same day, Rep. Huizenga’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations held a hearing to examine the Iranian government’s efforts to move money and finance terrorism.

Both subcommittee chairmen plan to pursue the issue further and expect the State Department to explain their rationale for catering to the Iranian government.

Read the full letter from Nov. 3 HERE.

Read the full waiver HERE.

Background: Just yesterday, the House Financial Services Committee marked a series of bills designed to curb revenue to Iran, the world’s largest state-sponsor of terror. Reps. Luetkemeyer and Huizenga sponsored H.R. 6015, the "Iran Sanctions Accountability Act of 2023" and H.R. 5921, the "No U.S. Financing for Iran Act of 2023" respectively, both of which passed through the committee.