Brooks Votes to Block All Ransoms and Cash Payments to Iran
Washington, DC – Last night, Congresswoman Susan W. Brooks (R-IN) voted in favor of H.R. 5931, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, to make it clear that the Obama Administration violated longstanding U.S. policy by paying ransom for the return of American held hostages by Iran in untraceable currency, and prohibiting such action in the future. The bill passed the House by a vote of 254-163. Following the vote, Brooks released the following statement:
“Ransom payments to countries like Iran – the largest state sponsor of terrorism – only serve to fund terrorist activities and encourage Iran to take more hostages, further endangering American citizens abroad. The Administration deliberately misled Congress and the American people, and we are already witnessing the effects. In fact, since the deal, Iran has detained three more Iranian Americans and four other Western dual-nationals. We can’t allow this practice to continue, and in the best interests of the security of our country and our citizens, we must prevent any future ransom or cash payments to Iran.”
In January, the Administration revealed that it paid a $1.7 billion “settlement” to Iran coinciding with the release of five unjustly detained Americans. Last month, Congress learned that the payment, made in unmarked foreign cash, was airlifted to Iran, and hostages were only freed once the money was secured. Currently, no law prohibits this from happening again, which is why H.R. 5931 is so important. These payments are dangerous and will only fund more terrorism and put Americans travelling abroad at risk.
Specifically, H.R. 5931:
- Cites concerns that the Obama Administration violated longstanding U.S. policy by releasing prisoners and paying ransom for the return of Americans held hostage by Iran, a designated state sponsor of terrorism.
- States that it remains U.S. policy not to pay ransom or release prisoners in order to obtain the release of U.S. citizens who are taken hostage abroad.
- Prohibits the U.S. government from making any direct or indirect payments to Iran in U.S. or foreign currency, as well as cash-like forms of exchange, such as bearer bonds.
- Demands transparency on any future settlements with Iran to ensure that they are not used to pay ransom.