Nunn bill to restrict Iran’s access to $6 billion clears committee

WASHINGTON — A bill co-sponsored by Iowa Congressman Zach Nunn that would block Iran’s access to $6 billion designated for humanitarian aide that was part of a recent prisoner swap between the U-S and Iran.

This bill would provide a surgical strike, as it were, in rescinding the licenses involving the $6 billion transferred from South Korea to Qatar in September of 2023,” Nunn said, “effectively cutting off Iran’s access to these funds.”

Iranian oil money had been held in South Korean banks since 2019 and the $6 billion has been transferred to Qatar’s central bank, but it has not been distributed to Iran yet. During Tuesday’s House Financial Services Committee meeting, Nunn called Iran is the largest state sponsor of terrorism in the world and he said if that money is released, it would let Iran redirect resources to groups like Hamas. “This would ensure that those assets don’t flow to Iran and the government of Iran,” Nunn said.

Nunn’s bill was among a dozen approved by the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday. Nunn said his bill calls for the U.S. to review any transaction — anywhere — that involves transfers of $5 million or more to Iran.

“In fact, our own Department of Justice recently found that Turkish Halkbank had illicitly transferred approximately $20 billion worth of restricted Iranian funds through a so-called ‘humanitarian exception,’ but none of that was used for the people of Iran,” Nunn said. “Instead, that money was used to directly threaten the United States and train terrorist groups Hezbollah and Hamas.”

Nunn, a Republican from Bondurant, said there have been Iranian backed strikes on U.S. forces in the Middle East since the Hamas attacks on Israel last month.