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Mark Kirk US Senator for Illinois

September 21, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Sarah Dolan (Sarah_Dolan@Kirk.Senate.Gov)

Kirk: Airlifting Billions in Cash to Iran’s Terror Regime Endangers Americans

Chairman Kirk’s Oversight Hearing Examines Terror-Financing Risks of Administration’s $1.7 Billion Cash Payments to Iran

Revelations of U.S. Wire Transfer Payments to Iran Undercut White House’s Claim It Could Only Send Untraceable Cash to the World’s Biggest Sponsor of Terrorism

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Chairman of the Senate Banking Subcommittee on National Security and International Trade and Finance, today held an oversight hearing on the terrorism financing dangers of the Administration’s three airlifted payments to Iran totaling $1.7 billion in foreign cash as part of an apparent quid pro quo for the January 2016 release of four American hostages.

“Rather than use traceable wire transfer payments, the Administration recklessly handed over a total of $1.7 billion in untraceable foreign cash to Iran, a regime described by the U.S. State Department as the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism,” said Senator Kirk. “Worse, the White House’s cash-for-hostages payments put a price on the head of all Americans abroad, prompting the U.S. State Department to warn travelers that Iran is looking to seize and detain American citizens.”

Hearing witnesses today discussed the $1.7 billion cash payments to Iran, as well as the Treasury Department’s recent admission that the United States had made at least two separate wire transfer payments to Iran prior to January 2016. The Treasury Department’s admission undercuts the White House’s claim that U.S. sanctions laws prevented anything but a cash transfer to Iran’s terror-sponsoring regime.

Senator Kirk warned against cash transfers to Iran because Iranian-backed terrorists have killed more Americans than ISIS has. On October 23, 1983, Iran-backed terrorists killed 241 Americans in the Beirut barracks bombing. General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said Iran-backed militants killed some 500 U.S. servicemen and women in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Senator Kirk also cited the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ estimate that the Administration may have overseen the transfer of as much as $33.6 billion in cash and precious metal to Iran. Kirk warned $33.6 billion in enough for Iran to fund Hezbollah terrorists for 168 years at current funding levels.

Senator Kirk’s opening statement as prepared for delivery is available here.

Today’s hearing witnesses were:

The Honorable Michael B. Mukasey, Former Attorney General of the United States
The Honorable Eric S. Edelman, Counselor, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Co-Chair, Iran Task Force at JINSA Gemunder Center, and Former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Dr. Suzanne Maloney, Deputy Director, Foreign Policy, and Senior Fellow, Center for Middle East Policy, Energy Security and Climate Initiative, The Brookings Institute

Opening statements from hearing witnesses can be viewed in full here.

Senator Kirk’s Banking Subcommittee has oversight of the Treasury Department, Iran sanctions laws, and terrorist financing.

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