“Iran has been allowed to bring, in estimates, as high as $80 billion of excess revenues from illegal petroleum sales. The Biden Administration [is] looking the other way, not enforcing the sanctions—in fact, they’re enforcing these sanctions the same way they’re enforcing our border right now,” Hagerty said.
CAMBRIDGE, MA—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan, yesterday joined Balance of Power on BloombergTV to call out the failures of the Biden Administration that have emboldened Iran to assist Hamas in the terror attack against Israel.
Hagerty on how the U.S. should support Israel: “The U.S. has already approved $3.7 billion-plus to move into Israel. I put forward legislation [last Congress] to replenish the Iron Dome—I’m going to be bringing that legislation back to the floor. There are a number of things that we can do, but the most important thing that we can do, Joe, is to step back and show our moral support for Israel and let them get at this root of terror, which is Hamas—they need to exterminate this [terrorist group]—and I’m very, very displeased with some of the message that we’ve heard coming from our own State Department. And you just played Secretary [of State Antony] Blinken’s comments; one of the things that Secretary Blinken leaves out is the role of Iran. And the Administration has been somewhat silent on this, except they tacitly admit Iran’s role when they say now they’re going to freeze the $6 billion, but it’s far more than $6 billion that we’re talking about. Since the Biden Administration came into office, they’ve looked the other way. They failed to enforce the sanctions on Iran. When I was Ambassador to Japan, it was my job to get the Japanese to stop buying Iranian crude [oil] in the previous Administration. We had choked off the flow of funds to Iran. If you think about Iran as a river sending funds into their proxies like Hezbollah and Hamas, those proxies had dried up. They were running out of money. Today, they’re flush because Iran has been allowed to bring in estimates as high as $80 billion of excess revenues from illegal petroleum sales. The Biden Administration [is] looking the other way, not enforcing the sanctions—in fact, they’re enforcing these sanctions the same way they’re enforcing our border right now. It’s pathetic. $10 billion that we know this Administration okayed going from Iraq to Iran earlier this year. This is a big, big problem when we’re funding the greatest sponsor of terror, and this is what we’re getting as a result.”
Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s ties to Iran and failure to call out Iran’s role in the attack: “This Administration has been Infiltrated by [Special Envoy to Iran Robert] Malley and by the Iranian Experts Initiative. The influences that [the] Iranian government wanted to put into our own Administration at the highest levels of the State Department, at DOD [Department of Defense]. So, I don’t really trust the competency of this Administration and their intelligence right now on this subject. […] Why are they cutting off $6 billion right now? Why are they freezing that? They’re talking out of both sides of their mouth right now. […] I think [refreezing the $6 billion] is the right direction. We should go back to the policies that we had in place before that were working—those are severe economic sanctions on Iran that will choke off the flow of funds that enable Hamas to do this. Look, I’m not making any defense of Hamas at all. This is a terrorist organization, and Israel has every right to defend itself. The Biden Administration took too many days to come forward and say this. Their first comments were to step back, to not retaliate. The Secretary of State, I understand, was calling for a ceasefire before the Israeli government even had a chance to situate itself and respond to this. They have terror on their soil. This is a massive terror attack. We need to allow them to do this. We need to step back and give them the room to do it and the moral support.”
Hagerty on the Biden Administration’s war on American energy supporting Iran: “Well, let’s talk about the global energy markets because I heard the National Security Council spokesman [John Kirby] talk about the need to balance those markets—that’s why they’ve looked the other way on sanctions. The best way to deal with this is to end the war on domestic energy in the United States of America. They precipitated this problem, and now they’re going to terrorists to deal with it, looking to nations like Iran to sell illegal oil, to keep the markets ‘balanced,’ go to Venezuela and let them do this. This is preposterous. The Biden Administration needs to look inward and stop this war on domestic energy. That has a great deal to do with this right now.”
Hagerty on Biden’s weak appeasement strategy that has emboldened Iran: “Well, I would tell you this, and I was early on seeing this when I came into the Senate and saw this Administration come into office and immediately begin to renegotiate with Iran. We had Iran at a point where we were essentially choked them out of their economic means to sponsor terror. This Administration comes in and starts immediately appeasing Iran. We saw what happened in the Obama Administration with the appeasement strategy in 2014 [and] 2015. The violence coming out of Gaza was immense. 2021, when Biden’s back in, we have the 11-day war again. Now we have this. The flow of funds matters. The fact that the Biden Administration put someone like Rob Malley, who has [been] compromised, has now lost his security clearances, has been kicked out of the State Department without pay, is under FBI investigation, that should tell you that there’s a deep, deep problem here. This Administration has made a massive mistake trying to negotiate with Iran, and by looking the other way on the sanctions and allowing them to enrich themselves, they have, again, widened the river and expanded these tributaries in a way that has enriched Hamas and other allies and other proxies.”
Hagerty on his legislation to require Congressional approval in order to lift sanctions on Iran: “The first thing they [the Biden Administration] need to do is put in place my legislation. We’re going to come back and replenish [the] Iron Dome. But most importantly, the legislation I brought forward in the last Congress, which had it been signed then, had my Democrat colleagues joined me, they would’ve had to bring every one of the sanctions relief measures to the Congress and vote them up or down. Would the $10 billion have been released? Would we have okayed the $10 billion from Iraq to Iran? I doubt it. Certainly not the $6 billion that has gone for the hostages. And we would require the enforcement of the sanctions that were in place. And again, the estimates are as high as $80 billion of revenues from illegal petroleum sales because the Biden Administration just refuses to enforce the sanctions. So, that would be very important. We need to step back and stop fueling Israel’s enemy…Israel’s sworn enemy is Iran, and this Administration has allowed them to gain the resources to fund their proxies like Hamas and Hezbollah. That’s the first thing we need.”