U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.), along with 42 Republican colleagues, are pressing President Biden to stand with Israel and end sanctions relief negotiations with Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism.

In a letter to the President, the Senators call out Iranian sponsorship of the terrorist group Hamas, which has been launching rocket attacks targeting populated areas in Israel.  The Biden administration is currently negotiating potential sanctions relief for Iran, which would unlock more funds for Iran to send to terrorist groups that would harm U.S. interests.  The letter demands the end of negotiations and assurance that the administration will not offer sanctions relief to Iran.

“The United States engaging in active negotiations with Iran and potentially providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief will no doubt contribute to Iran’s support of Hamas and other terrorist organizations who attack Americans and our allies,” the Senators wrote.  “We call on you to immediately end negotiations with Iran, and make clear that sanctions relief will not be provided.  Doing so would demonstrate a firm commitment to our closest ally in the region and to our own security interests.”

“The United States must not do anything to enrich Israel’s enemies, such as by offering sanctions relief to a regime that seeks to destroy Israel.  As a longtime friend of the Jewish state, we also urge you to unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against any and all terrorist attacks,” the Senators concluded.

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) led the correspondence.  In addition to Wicker and Hyde-Smith, the letter was signed by Senators John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), John Boozman (R-Ark.),  Mike  Braun (R-Ind.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.), Bill  Cassidy (R-La.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Ted  Cruz (R-Texas), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa),  Deb Fischer (R-Neb.), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), John Kennedy (R-La.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Mike  Lee (R-Utah), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), Lisa  Murkowski (R-Alaska), Rob Portman (R-Ohio), Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Mitt Romney (R-Utah), Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), Ben  Sasse (R-Neb.), Rick Scott (R-Fla.), Tim Scott (R-S.C.), Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska), Tom Tillis (R-N.C.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).

The text of the letter is available here and below.

Dear Mr. President: 

We write with regard to the ongoing rocket attacks against Israel by the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas.  Over the past couple days, Palestinian terrorists in Gaza, who are funded by Iran, have launched a series of rocket attacks into Israel.  They are targeting Israeli civilians and cities, including Israel’s capital Jerusalem.  This is troubling as members of your administration are currently in Vienna negotiating with Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism.  In light of these recent attacks by Hamas against Israel, the United States should take all steps necessary to hold Tehran accountable and under no circumstances, provide sanctions relief to Iran.  This is especially important as Iran is supporting terrorist activity against the United States’ closest ally in the region, Israel. 

As you know, Palestinian terrorist groups launched more than 1,000 rockets targeting Israel over the last few days alone.  This includes the first rockets aimed at Jerusalem since 2014. While the United States and countries around the world condemned these rocket attacks, Iran resoundingly supports this aggression.  Shortly after the attacks began, and as they continued, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tweeted that Palestinians should unite to “use the tools of their disposal” to attack Israel, which he recently called not a nation, but a “terrorist garrison.”  Even the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif, who currently is supervising Iran’s negotiating team in Vienna, called Hamas’ leader Ismail Haniyeh to express Iran’s support for the group’s actions.   

The United States designated Hamas as a terrorist organization in 1997 and as such, is prohibited from providing any funds to Hamas. Iran, however, is a longtime financial and material supporter of Hamas.  The United States engaging in active negotiations with Iran and potentially providing billions of dollars in sanctions relief will no doubt contribute to Iran’s support of Hamas and other terrorist organizations who attack Americans and our allies. We call on you to immediately end negotiations with Iran, and make clear that sanctions relief will not be provided. Doing so would demonstrate a firm commitment to our closest ally in the region and to our own security interests.  

The United States must not do anything to enrich Israel’s enemies, such as by offering sanctions relief to a regime that seeks to destroy Israel. As a longtime friend of the Jewish state, we also urge you to unequivocally support Israel’s right to defend itself against any and all terrorist attacks. 

Press Release

5/13/2021