In a recent urge to President Joe Biden, some Democratic House lawmakers have asked for the 6 billion dollars of frozen Iranian assets to be re-frozen. This comes as a response to the current Gaza-Israel conflict, which is exacerbated by Hamas, an Iranian backed militia.
The lawmakers—led by Rep. Tom Suozzi (D-NY)—cited the overwhelming evidence of Iranian involvement and the hazardous nature of their actions as the primary reason for the call to action. The notable members of this group received support from outside the party in the House Armed Services Committee, including Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Elise Stefanik (R-NY).
The sum of 6 billion dollars represents a fraction of total Iranian assets frozen by the United States. In 2018, the Trump administration froze over 100 billion dollars in Iranian assets, the proceeds of which had previously been used to finance the military and nuclear activities of the Iranian government.
The re-freezing of these assets would be an extension of economic sanctions levied by the Trump administration as a method of weakening Iran’s position in the region. While the Biden administration believes that these sanctions have done little to actually negotiate a peaceful resolution to the conflict, some are arguing that this could change that dynamic.
Ultimately, this resolution is unlikely to have an immediate impact on the current conflict situation. However, it could be a necessary step to send a strong signal to Iran and its proxies that the US will not stand for their aggressive actions. It remains to be seen whether this resolution will gain the support it needs to pass, or if it will be lost due to partisan fighting within the House.