Congress is probing the Biden administration for unilaterally lifting sanctions on a key funder of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s ongoing war, a decision made by the State Department late last week without congressional consultation.
Rep. Bryan Steil (R., Wis.), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, and two of his Republican colleagues are demanding the Biden administration hand over internal documents related to its decision to lift sanctions on businesses connected to Samer Foz, a Syrian oligarch who has worked closely with the Iranian regime to fund Assad’s war machine. The Biden administration also lifted sanctions on several former Iranian government officials and companies tied to the country’s illicit oil trade, which has included smuggling crude oil to Syria.
Steil, along with Reps. Jim Banks (R., Ind.) and Joe Wilson (R., S.C.), maintains that these sanctions were lifted as part of an effort to placate Iran as negotiations over a revamped nuclear deal resume in Vienna this week. They are requesting all internal “documents and communications relating to these delistings,” as well as information supporting the administration’s claim that sanctions were lifted only after officials verified that the entities were no longer violating American sanctions.
“The timing of the delistings on Foz’s companies as well as on the Iranian entities coming a few days before the next round of nuclear talks with Iran in Vienna raises major questions,” the lawmakers write in a letter sent Monday to the Treasury Department and obtained exclusively by the Washington Free Beacon. “We are committed to investigating any and all sanctions relief provided to Iran and its allies.”