Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., told Newsmax on Wednesday that what concerns her most about the turmoil in the Middle East is how Iran has “picked up the pace” in its efforts to fund terrorism.
The Islamic Republic backs Hamas, which is responsible for the deaths of more than 1,400 Israelis and at least 31 Americans following a terrorist attack in southern Israel on Oct. 7. Tehran also funds Hezbollah, which is wreaking havoc along Israel’s northern border in Lebanon.
“I am deeply concerned about what we see happening with Iran and how they have picked up the pace for funding terrorism,” Blackburn told “Eric Bolling The Balance.”
Blackburn blamed this on the Obama administration’s 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which eased sanctions on Tehran and allowed it access to billions of dollars in frozen assets. The deal, which the U.S. pulled out of during the Trump administration, “supercharged money” into Iran’s coffers, Blackburn said.
She also blames the Biden administration for allowing Iran access to $6 billion in frozen assets in South Korea in exchange for five U.S. hostages and the easing of oil export sanctions put in place during the Trump administration.
“What Biden did was to remove the Trump sanctions that prevented Iran from going back to producing oil and selling it,” she said. “Under Trump, they would produce as few as 100 barrels of oil a day. Now, they’re up to 3 million barrels of oil a day, and they’re bringing in $1 billion a week in profit.
“This is what is supercharging their work. And what do they spend their money on? Trying to enrich uranium so they can develop nuclear warheads and on funding terrorism. … They give Hamas and Hezbollah each $100 million per year.”
Blackburn said her hope is the U.S. gives Israel everything it needs to “rid the face of the Earth of Hamas.”
But what if Iran retaliates after Israel strikes back against Hamas?
“What terrorists do is respond to weakness,” Blackburn said. “That emboldens them. A strong America, a strong Israel makes it more difficult for Iran to do their dirty deeds.”