East Greenbush, NYCongresswoman Elise Stefanik led a bicameral bipartisan letter alongside Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA), Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Congressman Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) to demand further information on how the Biden Administration will enforce Iran’s oil sanctions after growing reports of threats and attacks towards Western ships in Middle Eastern waterways and American companies who engage in the unloading of seized Iranian oil. 

After the US seizure of the Suez Rajan tanker in April, Iran has dismissed oil sanctions and harassed Western ships in retaliation with no fear of reprisal as American citizens and companies involved struggle to trust that the Biden Administration will keep them safe from Iranian aggression. 

In the letter, the lawmakers state, “The ability for a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) to prevent the transfer of seized assets within U.S. territorial waters is an unprecedented intimidation effort that threatens to undermine our Nation’s security. No American citizen or company should ever fear retaliation from an FTO for assisting in lawful law enforcement activities or engaging in lawful commerce.”

The lawmakers continued, “We request that you work expeditiously to resolve the delay in the transfer of seized oil from the Suez Rajan and continue to enforce the law against Foreign Terrorist Organizations, such as the IRGC. The enforcement of petroleum sanctions will become irrelevant if American citizens and companies involved constantly live in fear of Iranian retaliation. It is imperative that your administration make it clear that Iran and designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations will not be able to prevent our government from carrying out legitimate law enforcement operations.” 

“Iran’s ramped-up threats and attacks against Western ships are the direct result of the Biden Administration pandering to Tehran by prioritizing a flawed nuclear agreement instead of protecting America’s national security. Recent reports allege that Iran is threatening to retaliate against U.S. civilians and corporations if they engage in the unloading of seized Iranian oil. This unacceptable behavior shows the Biden Administration’s continued weakness on the world stage is only emboldening Iran.” stated Congresswoman Elise Stefanik. “I am proud to lead this letter with Senators Ernst and Blumenthal and Congressman Gottheimer to demand further information on how the Biden Administration will enforce oil sanctions, prioritize the safety and security of the American people and companies involved, and provide answers to this increased aggression.”

Stefanik is joined by Representatives Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ), Jim Banks (R-IN), Don Davis (D-NC), and Max Miller (R-OH). Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is leading this bipartisan initiative in the Senate, joined by Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

Read the full letter HERE.