WASHINGTON, D.C. – This week, the House of Representatives passed two bills focused on preventing future cash payments or ransoms to Iran and bringing greater transparency to the personal wealth that Iran’s leaders have acquired through abuse of their positions. Congressman Charlie Dent (PA-15) issued the following statement in response to the House’s passage of these acts: 

“I hope that these bipartisan bills will help put an end to President Obama’s Iranian appeasement project, bring greater global awareness to the abuses by Iran’s leaders and protect our troops and citizens abroad by making it clear that the United States does not pay ransoms. Whether the Obama Administration’s $1.7 billion in cash payments to Iran constitute a ransom or a combination of poor judgment and terribly coincidental timing, the fact remains that the President’s actions unnecessarily jeopardized the security of our servicemen and women serving abroad. This week’s action will restate, in no uncertain terms, that it is U.S. policy not to pay ransom or release prisoners to secure the release of American citizens held hostage abroad. And it will explicitly prohibit cash payments to Iran.” 

Rep. Dent is an original cosponsor of H.R. 5931, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act, which reinforces the United States’ historical stance of not paying ransom or releasing prisoners in exchange for the release of American citizens taken hostage abroad by explicitly making it the current policy. Additionally, the bill bans the U.S. government from providing cash payments—directly or indirectly—to the Government of Iran, and brings greater transparency to the Administration’s future deals. In the future, the President’s administration would have to first acquire a Treasury foreign assets license before settling any outstanding debt, and then publicly disclose each transaction.

The Iranian Leadership Transparency Act, H.R. 5461, serves to increase the transparency surrounding “funds and assets” held by political and military officials in Iran. The acting U.S. Treasury Secretary would be tasked with posting a report of these estimates on the Treasury Department’s website.

Dent concluded, “Historically, the United States’ policy has been one of no tolerance when it comes to ransom. These bills help that long-held precedent become a non-negotiable foreign policy standard.”

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CONTACT: Emily Rauch (202) 225-6411