Republicans on the Senate International Relations Committee pressed President Biden’s nominee for ambassador to Israel, Democrat Jack Lew, about his previous work on sanctions on Iran throughout a nomination listening to on Wednesday.

A number of pro-Palestinian demonstrators protesting towards Israel disrupted the primary couple of minutes of the session. After they left, the assembly continued with out interruption.

Liu defended his file concerning the Iran deal, generally known as the Joint Complete Plan of Motion, and pressured that he would work to advance a “negotiated two-state answer to the Israeli-Palestinian battle.”

Liu stated: “I need to be clear that Iran poses a risk to regional stability and the existence of Israel.” He added: “If that is confirmed, I’ll uphold President Biden’s dedication to disclaim Iran a nuclear weapon.”

GOP senators might bar Jack Lew from serving as Israeli ambassador attributable to his controversial previous with Iran

Jack Liu during the hearing

Jack Lew throughout a Senate International Relations Committee nomination listening to in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, October 18, 2023. (Photograph by: Valerie Blish/Bloomberg by way of Getty Pictures)

In 2018, a Senate report from the investigative subcommittee of the Senate Homeland Safety and Governmental Affairs Committee discovered that Liu, throughout his time as Treasury Secretary underneath the Obama administration, “granted a particular authorization that allowed the switch of billions of {dollars}’ value of Iranian property.” of US {dollars} utilizing the US monetary system.”

The report discovered that the administration tried to switch $5.7 billion from US banks into Iranian property. She famous that the Treasury Division’s Workplace of International Property Management “inspired two US correspondent banks to switch funds.”

Jack Lew testifies earlier than the Senate International Relations Committee on October 18, 2023. (Drew Angerer/Employees)

In January 2016, then-President Obama introduced a $400 million money switch to Iran, half of a bigger fee from a $1.7 billion settlement, over which Liu confronted scrutiny. The settlement was a part of a long-running dispute over the arms deal that was signed earlier than the 1979 Iranian revolution, marking the tip of the nation’s historic monarchy.

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A bombing on the city of Ashkelon in Israel causes a car to catch fire

Israeli firefighters extinguish fires at a web site hit by a missile fired from the Gaza Strip in Ashkelon, Israel. (AFP/Tasfir Abayov)

Liu – who additionally served in the course of the Clinton administration as a particular assistant within the Workplace of the President – has confronted scrutiny over the switch. The Wall Avenue Journal reported on the time that the fee was made utilizing a mixture of Swiss and different foreign currency, and was then flown to Iran on unidentified cargo planes.

Throughout the session, senators cited these experiences of their questioning.

“As I stated, for me, it is all about Iran, and holding Iran underneath the desk isn’t for me,” stated Idaho Republican Senator Jim Risch. “And I’m deeply dissatisfied that you simply issued this license, deeply dissatisfied that you simply didn’t inform us about it, and deeply dissatisfied that you simply misled us in July.”

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., a member of the committee, echoed Risch’s considerations.

“Your testimony is that you weren’t giving them entry to the US monetary system. You then issued a particular license, which was not printed, which maybe nobody was imagined to know, to assist them entry the US monetary system.” Then he requested the banks to assist switch the cash.”

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz criticized Liu’s file in voting for 2015 UN Safety Council Decision 2334, which declared Israel to have “no authorized legitimacy,” and stated Liu was a “essential participant within the Obama administration’s marketing campaign.” To relax with Iran.”

He stated: “You performed a pivotal position in dumping greater than $100 billion to the Iranian regime. The Biden administration continued that coverage of dumping practically an extra $100 billion to the Iranian regime.”

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Split photo of Cotton, Lou, and Rubio

From left to proper, Senator Tom Cotton, former Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, and Senator Marco Rubio. (Getty Pictures)

When requested if he nonetheless believes Israel is an illegally occupied territory, Liu stated: “I do not suppose it’s illegally occupied.”

He requested, “Why did you help a United Nations decision that claims that?” Cruz requested.

“I feel we are able to have a dialog about that, however it could take me greater than 10 seconds to reply,” Liu stated.

GOP doubts

Days earlier than the listening to, a gaggle of GOP senators started talks about their opposition to Leo’s affirmation, which Democrats on the committee say they need to transfer ahead rapidly to indicate help for Israel.

The vote will happen at a enterprise assembly subsequent week. If authorised, Liu’s appointment will should be authorised by your entire Senate.

Lawmakers criticized Iran for its longstanding help for Hamas, which lately attacked Israel. The Republican Occasion criticized Biden for approving a $6 billion Iran deal in trade for the discharge of American hostages

The deal allowed the switch of frozen Iranian property held in a South Korean financial institution to accounts in Qatar.

The administration stated the funds might solely be used for humanitarian functions, and that america would oversee how and when the funds had been used. Nevertheless, doubts had been rapidly raised over whether or not this cash might have been used to finance the shock assault in Israel after a Wall Avenue Journal report stated that Hamas and Hezbollah helped Iran plan the assault.

“Appointing Jack Lew as US ambassador to Israel could be a win for Iran,” Tennessee Republican Senator Marsha Blackburn informed Fox Information Digital on Wednesday. “As Treasury Secretary underneath President Obama, Mr. Liu was chargeable for administering sanctions as a part of the damaging Iran nuclear deal that he boldly championed. Now, as Israel faces a horrible assault from Iran-backed Hamas, we have to ship america,” our consultant to Israel, who It is going to help our widespread pursuits and strengthen our relationship. “This actor isn’t Jack Liu.”


Sen. Tom Cotton, a member of the Senate Armed Companies Committee, informed Fox Information Digital on Monday night that he would vote to oppose Liu in the course of the affirmation vote if he strikes to full affirmation and that he would lead an effort to influence different GOP colleagues this week to dam his affirmation.

“I do know my Democratic colleagues preserve that we should always affirm Jack Lew proper to indicate our help for Israel, however I’ll change that. We should defeat Jack Lew’s nomination to indicate that our nation has a brand new Iran coverage.” Cotton stated.

A Senate GOP aide informed Fox Information Digital on Wednesday {that a} handful of Republicans are prone to oppose Lou, which might delay his anticipated affirmation.

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