U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) says President Joe Biden‘s timid action on a seized Iranian tanker in the waters near Galveston, Texas amount to “appeasement” of Iran by the administration — which she says is giving in to “intimidation attempts” by the Iranians.
The U.S. seized the tanker in May, but has not offloaded the oil, inaction which Ernst and a bipartisan group of lawmakers attribute to warnings from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that offloading would be met with retaliation.
Ernst, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-New York), Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) and Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) were among the ten signers of a letter to Biden urging him to act. The current petrochemical sanctions against Iran require, the letter asserts, “transferring the seized oil from the Suez Rajan to U.S. custody.”
Lawmakers say the 800,000 barrels of oil on the Suez Rajan are valued at $56 million, the sale of which would “contribute additional resources” to the USVSST (U.S. Victims of State-Sponsored Terrorism Fund),” which is in need of the funds.
Instead, Biden has “doubled down on his posture of appeasement, emboldening the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) to intimidate American companies in our own waters,” Ernst told Fox News. “This is unacceptable. The Biden administration must reverse their weak posture, so Americans know their lives and livelihoods will be protected against terrorists’ intimidation attempts.”
CC’d on the Biden letter are Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, Homeland Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and AG Merrick Garland.