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114th Congress }                                          { Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 2d Session    }                                          { 114-767

======================================================================
 
             PROHIBITING FUTURE RANSOM PAYMENTS TO IRAN ACT

                                _______
                                

 September 20, 2016.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on 
            the State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Royce, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            DISSENTING VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 5931]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

    The Committee on Foreign Affairs, to whom was referred the 
bill (H.R. 5931) to provide for the prohibition on cash 
payments to the Government of Iran, and for other purposes, 
having considered the same, reports favorably thereon with an 
amendment and recommends that the bill as amended do pass.

                           TABLE OF CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     2
Summary and Purpose..............................................     4
Background and Need for Legislation..............................     5
Hearings.........................................................    10
Committee Consideration..........................................    12
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................    13
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................    13
New Budget Authority, Tax Expenditures, and Federal Mandates.....    14
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................    14
Directed Rule Making.............................................    15
Non-Duplication of Federal Programs..............................    15
Congressional Accountability Act.................................    15
New Advisory Committees..........................................    15
Earmark Identification...........................................    15
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................    15
Dissenting Views.................................................    17

                             The Amendment

    The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

  This Act may be cited as the ``Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to 
Iran Act''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

  Congress makes the following findings:
          (1) Since 1979, when it held more than 50 United States 
        citizens for 444 days, Iran has repeatedly held United States 
        citizens hostage.
          (2) Presidential Policy Directive 30 issued by President 
        Barack Obama on June 24, 2015, states that ``It is United 
        States policy to deny hostage-takers the benefits of ransom, 
        prisoner releases, policy changes, or other acts of 
        concession.''.
          (3) On January 17, 2016, the President announced that Iran 
        would release several United States citizens while the United 
        States would grant clemency to and release seven Iranian 
        nationals serving sentences or awaiting trial in the United 
        States for serious crimes.
          (4) Senior officials of the Department of State have 
        acknowledged that these United States citizens were released as 
        part of a ``prisoner swap'' and Iranian negotiators reportedly 
        asked for a cash payment.
          (5) On January 17, 2016, the President also announced that 
        ``The United States and Iran are now settling a longstanding 
        Iranian government claim against the United States 
        Government.''.
          (6) The overall amount of the settlement is approximately 
        $1,700,000,000.
          (7) Subsequent reports revealed that $400,000,000 of this 
        $1,700,000,000 settlement was secretly flown to Iran, in cash, 
        simultaneously with the release of these United States 
        citizens.
          (8) One of the United States citizens released that night, 
        Pastor Saeed Abedini, has stated that Iranian officials 
        explained a delay in their departure was due to the status of 
        another plane.
          (9) Senior officials at the National Security Division of the 
        Department of Justice reportedly objected to the $400,000,000 
        cash payment, warning that Iran would see it as a ransom.
          (10) On August 18, 2016, a Department of State spokesman 
        admitted that the $400,000,000 cash payment was ``leverage'' to 
        gain the release of Americans held hostage by Iran.
          (11) Iranian State Television quoted General Mohammad Reza 
        Naghdi, commander of the Basij militia, as claiming ``Taking 
        this much money back was in return for the release of the 
        American spies.''.
          (12) According to Presidential Policy Directive 30, the 
        United States policy against paying ransom and releasing 
        prisoners ``protects United States nationals and strengthens 
        national security by removing a key incentive for hostage-
        takers to target United States nationals, thereby interrupting 
        the vicious cycle of hostage-takings, and by helping to deny 
        terrorists and other malicious actors the money, personnel, and 
        other resources they need to conduct attacks against the United 
        States, its nationals, and its interests.''.
          (13) Since the United States released Iranians serving 
        sentences or awaiting trial in the United States for serious 
        crimes and provided Iran with $400,000,000 in cash, Iran has 
        taken several more United States citizens hostage.
          (14) On August 22, 2016, the Department of State issued an 
        ``Iran Travel Warning'' noting that ``Iranian authorities 
        continue to unjustly detain and imprison U.S. citizens, 
        particularly Iranian-Americans, including students, 
        journalists, business travelers, and academics, on charges 
        including espionage and posing a threat to national 
        security.''.
          (15) The Government of the United States has designated Iran 
        as a state sponsor of terrorism since 1984 and a jurisdiction 
        of primary money laundering concern since 2011.
          (16) The Department of State's most recent Country Reports on 
        Terrorism makes clear that ``Iran continued its terrorist-
        related activity in 2015, including support for Hizballah, 
        Palestinian terrorist groups in Gaza, and various groups in 
        Iraq and throughout the Middle East.''.
          (17) In announcing Iran's designation as a jurisdiction of 
        primary money laundering concern, the Department of the 
        Treasury made clear that ``any and every financial transaction 
        with Iran poses grave risk of supporting'' Iran's ongoing 
        illicit activities, including terrorism.
          (18) On March 17, 2016, the Department of State acknowledged 
        in a letter to Congress that there remain some ``large claims'' 
        pending before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal, ``many 
        of which are against the United States''.

SEC. 3. STATEMENT OF POLICY.

  It shall be the policy of the United States Government not to pay 
ransom or release prisoners for the purpose of securing the release of 
United States citizens taken hostage abroad.

SEC. 4. PROHIBITION ON CASH PAYMENTS TO THE GOVERNMENT OF IRAN.

  (a) Prohibition.--Notwithstanding any other provision of law, 
beginning on the date of the enactment of this Act, the United States 
Government may not provide, directly or indirectly, promissory notes 
(including currency) issued by the United States Government or 
promissory notes (including currency) issued by a foreign government, 
to the Government of Iran.
  (b) Licensing Requirement.--
          (1) In general.--Beginning on the date of the enactment of 
        this Act, the conduct of a transaction or payment in connection 
        with an agreement to settle a claim or claims brought before 
        the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal may be made only--
                  (A) on a case-by-case basis and pursuant to a 
                specific license by the Office of Foreign Assets 
                Control of the Department of the Treasury; and
                  (B) in a manner that is not in contravention of the 
                prohibition in subsection (a).
          (2) Publication in federal register.--The President shall 
        publish in the Federal Register a list of transactions and 
        payments, including the amount and method of each such 
        transaction and payment, by the United States Government to the 
        Government of Iran in connection with the agreement described 
        in paragraph (1).
  (c) Termination.--The prohibition in subsection (a) and the licensing 
requirement in subsection (b) shall remain in effect until the date on 
which the President certifies to the appropriate congressional 
committees that--
          (1) the President has rescinded a preliminary draft rule or 
        final rule (as in effect on the day before the date of the 
        enactment of this Act) that provides for the designation of 
        Iran as a jurisdiction of primary money laundering concern 
        pursuant to section 5318A of title 31, United States Code; and
          (2) the Secretary of State has removed Iran from the list of 
        countries determined to have repeatedly provided support for 
        acts of international terrorism under section 6(j) of the 
        Export Administration Act of 1979 (as continued in effect 
        pursuant to the International Emergency Economic Powers Act), 
        section 40 of the Arms Export Control Act, section 620A of the 
        Foreign Assistance Act of 1961, or any other provision of law.
  (d) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined.--In this section, 
the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
          (1) the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the Committee on 
        Financial Services of the House of Representatives; and
          (2) the Committee on Foreign Relations and the Committee on 
        Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs of the Senate.

SEC. 5. REPORT ON OUTSTANDING CLAIMS BEFORE THE IRAN-UNITED STATES 
                    CLAIMS TRIBUNAL.

  (a) Report.--The President shall submit to the appropriate 
congressional committees a report that lists and evaluates each 
outstanding claim before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.
  (b) Matters To Be Included.--The report required under subsection (a) 
shall include the following:
          (1) The total value of each outstanding claim.
          (2) The current status of each outstanding claim.
          (3) The likelihood that each claim will be resolved in the 
        next 6 months.
  (c) Submission to Congress.--The report required under subsection (a) 
shall be submitted to the appropriate congressional committees not 
later than 30 days after the date of the enactment of this Act and 
every 180 days thereafter for a period not to exceed 3 years.
  (d) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined.--In this section, 
the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
          (1) the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of 
        Representatives; and
          (2) the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

SEC. 6. NOTIFICATION AND CERTIFICATION RELATING TO SETTLEMENTS OF 
                    OUTSTANDING CLAIMS BEFORE THE IRAN-UNITED STATES 
                    CLAIMS TRIBUNAL.

  (a) Notification.--The President shall notify the appropriate 
congressional committees not later than 30 days prior to conducting a 
transaction or payment from the Government of the United States to the 
Government of Iran in connection with an agreement to settle a claim or 
claims brought before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.
  (b) Matters To Be Included.--The notification required under 
subsection (a) shall include the following:
          (1) The total amount of the settlement, including the total 
        principal and interest, and an explanation of the calculation 
        of the interest.
          (2) A legal analysis of why the settlement was made, 
        including a detailed description of all claims and counter-
        claims covered by the settlement.
          (3) A certification by the President that the settlement is 
        not a ransom for the release of individuals held hostage by 
        Iran.
          (4) An identification of each entity of the Government of 
        Iran that will receive amounts from the settlement.
          (5) A certification that the funds provided to Iran under the 
        settlement will not be used to provide support to foreign 
        terrorist organizations, the regime of Bashar al-Assad, or 
        other destabilizing activities.
          (6) Whether an equal amount of Iranian funds are available 
        and accessible in the United States to satisfy judgments 
        against Iran by victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism.
          (7) A copy of the settlement agreement.
          (8) A description of the disposition of any related claims 
        that have been subrogated to the United States Government.
          (9) A certification that the settlement is in the best 
        interest of the United States.
  (c) Appropriate Congressional Committees Defined.--In this section, 
the term ``appropriate congressional committees'' means--
          (1) the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the House of 
        Representatives; and
          (2) the Committee on Foreign Relations of the Senate.

SEC. 7. EXCLUSION OF CERTAIN ACTIVITIES.

  Nothing in this Act shall apply to any activities subject to the 
reporting requirements of title V of the National Security Act of 1947.

SEC. 8. RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.

  Nothing in this Act shall be construed to authorize any payment by 
the Government of the United States to the Government of Iran.

SEC. 9. DEFINITIONS.

  In this Act:
          (1) Government of iran.--The term ``Government of Iran'' 
        means--
                  (A) the state and the Government of Iran, as well as 
                any political subdivision, agency, or instrumentality 
                thereof;
                  (B) any entity owned or controlled directly or 
                indirectly by the foregoing;
                  (C) any person to the extent that such person is, or 
                has been, or to the extent that there is reasonable 
                cause to believe that such person is, or has been, 
                acting or purporting to act directly or indirectly on 
                behalf of any of the foregoing; and
                  (D) any person or entity identified by the Secretary 
                of the Treasury to be the Government of Iran under part 
                560 of title 31, Code of Federal Regulations.
          (2) Iran-united states claims tribunal.--The term ``Iran-
        United States Claims Tribunal'' means the tribunal established 
        pursuant to the Algiers Accords on January 19, 1981, to resolve 
        certain claims by nationals of one party against the other 
        party and certain claims between the parties.

                          Summary and Purpose

    H.R. 5931, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran 
Act, is a legislative response to the Obama Administration's 
action of January 17, 2016. On that day, simultaneous with the 
release of several Americans who had been detained in Iran, 
President Obama announced that the United States would pay 
Tehran $1.7 billion to settle a decades-old dispute over 
aborted arms sales that pre-dated the Iranian revolution of 
1979. This settlement payment occurred without any consultation 
with the Committee on Foreign Affairs.
    Of the upmost concern to the committee, it was subsequently 
revealed that this $1.7 billion delivered to the terrorist 
regime in Tehran was paid in cash. Indeed, according to the 
Financial Action Task Force--the international body charged 
with developing policies to combat money laundering and 
terrorism financing--the ``physical transportation of 
currency'' is ``one of the main methods used to move criminal 
assets, launder money and finance terrorism.''
    H.R. 5931 adheres to longstanding U.S. policy against 
paying ransom for hostages by prohibiting future cash payments 
to Iran until it stops sponsoring terrorism and is no longer a 
primary money laundering concern. It further enhances 
transparency and oversight by requiring a 30-day Congressional 
notification and review of any future settlements related to 
the U.S.-Iran Claims Tribunal. If this legislation had been 
law, the Obama Administration's dangerous actions of last 
January could not have happened.
    The committee believes that this piece of legislation 
strikes the right balance between ending cash payments to a 
state sponsor of terrorism on the one hand, while ensuring the 
United can meet its international commitments on the other.

                  Background and Need for Legislation

Americans Held Hostage by Iran
    In 1979, the radicals that still rule Iran took over the 
country, stormed the U.S. Embassy, and held more than 50 
Americans hostage for 444 days. Since that time Iran has 
repeatedly taken Americans hostage, a policy that continues to 
this day. Iranian laws are vaguely written and inconsistently 
applied in support of these politically motivated detentions, 
and those held are often denied access to legal counsel. Many 
have been dual nationals of the U.S. and Iran. Iran refuses to 
recognize their American citizenship, and denies them consular 
services.
    As the Obama Administration negotiated the ``Joint 
Comprehensive Plan of Action'' to address Iran's nuclear 
program, Tehran held several Americans hostage. They included 
Pastor Saeed Abedini, former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, and 
Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian. Despite Secretary 
Kerry's claim that he and other senior officials ``repeatedly 
raised'' the cases of ``detained or missing U.S. citizens 
directly with Iranian officials,'' the Obama Administration 
rejected calls from Congress to demand the release of these 
Americans before the nuclear negotiations could continue. As 
State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf made clear, the Obama 
Administration considered that the nuclear negotiations and the 
Americans held hostage in Iran ``really are separate issues.''
    The fate of another American, Robert Levinson, remains a 
top concern of the committee. A sixty-seven year old former FBI 
agent, Levinson went missing after a visit in 2007 to Iran's 
Kish Island. According to his family, Levinson was researching 
a cigarette smuggling case as a private investigator. Iran 
denies knowing his status or location and refuses to assist 
efforts to obtain his location. In December 2011, Levinson's 
family released a one-year- old taped statement by him. On 
March 9, 2015, the eighth anniversary of Levinson's 
disappearance, the FBI increased its reward to up to $5 million 
for ``information leading directly to his safe location, 
recovery, and return.''
    On June 2, 2015, the committee held a hearing on 
``Americans Detained in Iran.'' All four witnesses were close 
relatives of Americans who were being held in Iran. They 
included Ali Rezaian, the brother of Washington Post 
correspondent Jason Rezaian; Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of 
Pastor Saeed Abedini; Sarah Hekmati, the sister of former U.S. 
Marine Amir Hekmati; and Daniel Levinson, the son of former FBI 
agent Robert Levinson.
    After this hearing, the committee considered H. Res. 233, 
introduced by Rep. Kildee, ``expressing the sense of the House 
of Representatives that Iran should immediately release the 
three United States citizens it holds, as well as provide all 
known information on any United States citizens that have 
disappeared within its borders.'' This resolution passed the 
House on June 15, 2015.
Prisoner Exchange
    On January 17, 2016, the day after the nuclear deal was 
officially implemented, President Obama announced that Iran had 
released four American hostages: Pastor Abedini, former U.S. 
Marine Amir Hekmati, Washington Post correspondent Jason 
Rezaian, and Nosratollah Khosravi-Roodsari--about whom little 
is known.
    The President also announced that, ``six Iranian-Americans 
and one Iranian serving sentences or awaiting trial in the 
United States are being granted clemency'' in what he described 
as ``a reciprocal humanitarian gesture.'' A State Department 
spokesman has since referred to the events as a ``prisoner 
swap.'' Critics noted that by exchanging Americans held hostage 
by Iran for convicted and accused criminals, the President 
violated longstanding U.S. policy, as laid out in his own 
Policy Directive, to deny hostage-takers the benefit of 
``prisoner releases.''
    While the President claimed that ``these individuals were 
not charged with terrorism or any violent offenses,'' all had 
been accused or convicted of serious crimes from sanctions 
evasion to acquiring equipment for Iran's illegal weapons 
programs. In addition, The Wall Street Journal reported that 
``The U.S. also agreed to drop the names of 14 Iranian 
nationals it has been seeking from the watch list of Interpol, 
the international police agency.''
$1.7 Billion Settlement at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal
    In the same January 17, 2016, speech in which he announced 
implementation of the nuclear deal and the prisoner exchange, 
President Obama also announced that the United States would pay 
Iran $1.7 billion to settle a decades-old dispute over an 
aborted arms sale that had been called off after the radicals 
that still rule Iran seized power in 1979.
    The Obama Administration contends that the Iran-U.S. Claims 
Tribunal, based in The Hague, was poised to rule against the 
United States in the longstanding contract dispute. This 
Tribunal was created pursuant to the Algiers Accords, which the 
United States and Iran reached in 1981. The Tribunal is 
designed to resolve contractual disputes caused by the abrupt 
break in relations between the two countries.
    The Tribunal is divided into three chambers, each 
consisting of an American judge, an Iranian judge, and a third-
country judge, who serves as the chamber's chair. Prior to the 
deadline of January 1982, 3,844 private claims were filed, of 
which 2,795 were ``small claims'' of less than $250,000. This 
resulted in payments of $2.5 billion to American claimants--
mostly U.S. companies whose business in Iran was interrupted by 
the revolution. Many of the claims were settled prior to 
judgment, with the Tribunal approving the terms. Case B1, which 
is by far the largest and most complex claim, involves a vast 
number of disputes arising out of Iran's purchase of military 
equipment prior to the revolution through the Defense 
Department's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) program--of which 
Iran was the largest customer at the time.
    According to the Administration, Iran received the balance 
of $400 million that it had deposited in the FMS Trust Fund, as 
well as roughly $1.3 billion in interest. The Administration 
maintains that if Iran's claim had gone to decision, the United 
States would have faced significant exposure in the billions of 
dollars. However, Administration officials refuse to publicly 
explain how they determined that a decision by the Tribunal was 
imminent, that the U.S. would lose that decision, or how the 
$1.3 billion in interest was calculated--citing ongoing 
litigation at the Tribunal.
Lack of Transparency at the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal
    The timing of this announcement, combined with the lack of 
details, immediately led Members of the committee and other 
observers to express concern that the settlement was reached to 
provide a ransom to secure the release of American hostages. In 
the wake of the prisoner exchange, such a payment would 
represent a further violation of the longstanding U.S. ``no 
concessions'' policy. In the weeks leading up to the 
President's speech, the Administration had repeatedly briefed 
the committee on the implementation of the nuclear deal and a 
wide range of issues related to Iran, including the regime's 
ongoing sponsorship of terrorism, dangerous ballistic missile 
and illicit conventional weapons programs, and continued 
efforts to prop up the murderous Assad regime in Syria. 
However, despite having ample opportunity to do so, in both 
unclassified and classified settings, the Obama Administration 
never raised this potential financial settlement with the 
committee.
    On February 3, 2016, Chairman Royce wrote to Secretary 
Kerry expressing concern that the dispute over the decades-old 
arms sale was settled to provide Iran with a de facto ransom. 
The letter included ten questions requesting detailed 
information on the settlement and its connection to the 
hostages.
    When the State Department failed to provide a substantive 
response, Chairman Royce wrote a second letter reiterating his 
questions and specifically asking how the settlement was paid 
to Iran.
The $400 Million Cash Payment
    On August 3, 2016, The Wall Street Journal reported that 
the $400 million held in the FMS Trust Fund was sent to Iran in 
cash. As testimony from a senior Treasury Department official 
later confirmed, the $400 million was transferred from the 
United States to a European central bank, withdrawn in the 
banknotes of a European currency, and turned over to an 
official from the Central Bank of Iran at a European airport on 
January 17. Closely coordinated, a Swiss military aircraft 
arrived in Geneva with the American prisoners.
    In the days following the announcement of the settlement 
payment and the hostage release, the State Department denied 
the connection between the two. Specifically, Department 
Spokesman John Kirby maintained that ``the negotiations over 
the settlement were completely separate from the discussions 
about returning our American citizens home.''
    The Administration also rejected any accusations that the 
settlement amounted to a ransom payment. On February 3, 2016, 
the committee wrote to the Department expressing concern that 
the timing of the settlement could be viewed as such. The 
Department responded on March 17, stating that the ``timing [of 
the settlement] was particularly critical, as hearings on this 
claim were then being considered for scheduling by the 
Tribunal.'' This suggested the timing was unrelated to the 
prisoner exchange. However, after reports of the $400 million 
cash payment surfaced in early August, the State Department 
reversed itself and confirmed that the payment was used as 
``leverage'' to secure the American hostages.
Justice Department Warns about Ransom
    According to press reports, Assistant Attorney General John 
Carlin, head of the National Security Division of the Justice 
Department was among several senior officials who believed that 
the plan to deliver a cash payment to Iran would be viewed as a 
ransom payment. Justice Department officials didn't object to 
the size of the settlement, but rather to the fact that a cash 
payment could send the wrong signal to Iran and the rest of the 
world about a change in U.S. ransom policy.
    The timing and manner of the payment raised alarms at the 
Justice Department: ``People knew what it was going to look 
like, and there was concern the Iranians probably did consider 
it a ransom payment,'' said one of those familiar with the 
discussions. A Justice Department spokesman said the agency 
``fully supported the ultimate outcome of the Administration's 
resolution of several issues with Iran,'' including the 
settlement of the long-running case at a tribunal in The Hague, 
``as well as the return of U.S. citizens detained in Iran.''
    Though the Obama Administration has clearly stated ``We do 
not pay ransom for hostages,'' the committee is deeply 
concerned that the consequences will be the same if Iran and 
other actors viewed the payment as such. Indeed, since these 
cash payments were made, Iran has detained several more 
Americans, as well as French, British, and Canadian citizens. 
The committee is concerned that--bolstered by the Obama 
Administration's payment -Tehran will demand cash for their 
release.
$1.3 Billion More in Cash from the Judgment Fund
    The $1.7 billion settlement included $1.3 billion in 
interest on the underlying $400 million claim. This amount, 
according to the Administration, was a ``compromise'' on the 
interest initially sought by Iran, and that ``the United States 
could well have faced significant exposure in the billions of 
dollars.'' The State Department also informed the committee 
that the settlement avoided ``the potential for a much larger 
Tribunal award against us, saving the U.S. taxpayers a 
significant amount of money.'' Past precedent indicates, 
however, that our maximum exposure could have been much lower. 
The $1.3 billion was paid from the U.S. Government's Judgement 
Fund, a permanent appropriation available to pay final money 
judgments and awards against the United States in which no 
other appropriated funds are available.
    According to testimony from a senior Treasury Department 
official, the $1.3 billion was transferred to a second European 
central bank and withdrawn in the banknotes of a second 
European currency. Given the amount of physical cash involved, 
the $1.3 billion was broken up into two payments which were 
turned over to officials from the Central Bank of Iran at a 
second European airport on two separate dates, January 22 and 
February 5.
    The Administration asserts that cash was necessary to 
facilitate payment to Iran given continuing U.S. sanctions. Yet 
earlier this year, the Obama Administration was able to 
facilitate the purchase of Iran's heavy water for nearly $10 
million through the formal financial system.
    Likewise, during the interim agreement on Iran's nuclear 
program, the Administration was able to facilitate $700 million 
back to Tehran each month through international banking 
relationships.
    Further, explicit provisions in existing regulations allow 
financial institutions to provide payments to Iran, through 
conventional banking channels, when those payments are made 
pursuant to a settlement agreement under the Iran-U.S. Claims 
Tribunal. The exemptions in the ``Iran Transactions Sanctions 
Regime'' for Tribunal settlements would shield any entity 
involved in such a transaction from liability under U.S. law.
Use of Cash Raises Concerns
    The committee is deeply concerned that the Obama 
Administration conducted its $1.7 billion payment to Iran in 
cash. The United States has designated Iran as a ``jurisdiction 
of primary money laundering concern'' since 2011. In announcing 
this designation the Treasury Department made clear that ``any 
and every financial transaction with Iran poses grave risk of 
supporting'' Iran's ongoing illicit activities. The State 
Department's 2015 Country Reports on Terrorism cites Hezbollah, 
Hamas, and other radical Shia groups in Iraq, Afghanistan, and 
Pakistan as recipients of arms, financing, and training from 
the Iranian Government.
    Organizations can use a variety of money laundering methods 
to disguise funds that were gained though legal or illegal 
means to facilitate illicit activities. Cash, however, makes 
the funding of these illicit activities that much easier. 
Because cash does not have an electronic signature, the number 
of steps needed for the money to become completely untraceable 
is drastically reduced. This is problematic for law enforcement 
agencies and other organizations that attempt to monitor and 
track the funding sources of illegal activities such as 
terrorism. Indeed, the Financial Action Task Force--the 
international body charged with developing policies to combat 
money laundering and terrorism financing--warns that ``physical 
transportation of currency'' is ``one of the main methods used 
to move criminal assets, launder money and finance terrorism.''
Longstanding U.S policy against Paying Ransom and Releasing Prisoners
    The United States has long maintained a ``no concessions'' 
policy when responding to American citizens taken hostage while 
abroad. Unofficially this dates back to Thomas Jefferson's 
belief that the tribute demands by the Barbary States would 
never end, which led to the cessation of this payment policy 
and the subsequent War with Tripoli. More formally, it wasn't 
until the Nixon Administration when Palestinian terrorists 
kidnapped two senior U.S. diplomats in Khartoum, Sudan that 
this policy was solidified. President Nixon in response stated, 
``We will do everything we can to get them released but we will 
not pay blackmail.''
    President Obama himself embraced this policy in June 2015, 
when the White House released Presidential Policy Directive 30. 
PPD-30 ``reaffirms our longstanding commitment to make no 
concessions to individuals or groups holding U.S. nationals 
hostage. This policy protects U.S. nationals and strengthens 
national security by removing a key incentive for hostage-
takers to target U.S. nationals and by helping to deny 
terrorists and other malicious actors the resources they need 
to conduct attacks against the United States, its nationals, 
its allies, and its interests.''
By Law, Money Was Supposed to Leverage Reimbursement for U.S. Terror 
        Victims
    In past decades, Americans directly harmed by Iranian 
terrorism had sued Iran in U.S. courts and won, but hadn't seen 
a penny because Iran avoided paying those judgments.
    In response, in 2000, Congress passed a law (Sec. 2002 of 
Public Law 106-386) that authorized funding to pay those 
judgments, in an amount equal to the assets then frozen in 
Iran's Foreign Military Sales (FMS) account held by the U.S.--
around 400 million dollars--the very amounts recently handed 
over to Iran.
    When the American victims accepted those payments, their 
claims were subrogated to the United States, meaning that their 
claims against Iran became the United States Government's 
claims against Iran. Although the immediate funding came from 
American taxpayers, Congress required the President to go after 
Iran for reimbursement of those hundreds of millions of 
taxpayer dollars, using the FMS balance as leverage.
    Section 2002(c) of Public Law106-386 clearly states that 
``no funds shall be paid to Iran, or released to Iran . . . 
from the Foreign Military Sales Fund, until such subrogated 
claims have been dealt with to the satisfaction of the United 
States.'' However the Administration appears to have wiped away 
the claims against Iran for those funds as part of this 
settlement, letting Iran off the hook for those hundreds of 
millions of dollars.

                                Hearings

    During the 114th Congress, the committee has continued its 
active oversight regarding Iran, including numerous hearings 
related to Iran's support for terrorism, regional 
destabilization, proliferation and missile activities, and 
detention of American citizens, including but not limited to:

          May 12, 2016--Full Committee: ``Terrorism, Missiles, 
        and Corruption: The Risks of Economic Engagement with 
        Iran.'' Hon. Juan C. Zarate, Chairman, Financial 
        Integrity Network; Mr. Mark Dubowitz, Executive 
        Director, Foundation for the Defense of Democracies; 
        Ms. Elizabeth Rosenberg, Senior Fellow and Director, 
        Energy, Economics, and Security Program, Center for a 
        New American Security.
          February 11, 2016--Full Committee: ``Iran Nuclear 
        Deal Oversight: Implementation and Its Consequences.'' 
        Hon. Stephen D. Mull, Lead Coordinator for Iran Nuclear 
        Implementation, U.S. Department of State; Mr. John 
        Smith, Acting Director, Office of Foreign Assets 
        Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury.
          December 2, 2015--Full Committee: ``Iran's Islamic 
        Revolutionary Guard Corps: Fueling Middle East 
        Turmoil.'' Mr. Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, Foundation 
        Defense of Democracies; Mr. Scott Modell, Managing 
        Director, The Rapidan Group; Mr. Daniel Benjamin, 
        Norman E. McCulloch Jr. Director, The John Sloan Dickey 
        Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth 
        College (former Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator for 
        Counterterrorism, U.S. Department of State).
          July 28, 2015--Full Committee: ``Iran Nuclear 
        Agreement: The Administration's Case.'' The Honorable 
        John F. Kerry, Secretary of State, U.S. Department of 
        State; The Honorable Jacob Lew, Secretary of the 
        Treasury, U.S. Department of the Treasury; The 
        Honorable Ernest Moniz, Secretary of Energy, U.S. 
        Department of Energy.
          June 2, 2015--Full Committee: ``Americans Detained in 
        Iran.'' Mr. Ali Rezaian (brother of Jason Rezaian); 
        Mrs. Naghmeh Abedini (wife of Saeed Abedini); Ms. Sarah 
        Hekmati (sister of Amir Hekmati); Mr. Daniel Levinson 
        (son of Robert Levinson).
          June 9, 2016--Joint Hearing: Subcommittee on 
        Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade and the 
        Committee on Armed Services' Subcommittee on Emerging 
        Threats and Capabilities: ``Stopping the Money Flow: 
        The War on Terror Finance.'' Hon. Daniel Glaser, 
        Assistant Secretary for Terrorist Financing, U.S. 
        Department of the Treasury; Mr. Andrew Keller, Deputy 
        Assistant Secretary for Counter Threat Finance and 
        Sanctions, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, 
        U.S. Department of State; Ms. Theresa Whelan, Acting 
        Assistant Secretary for Special Operations/Low 
        Intensity Conflict, U.S. Department of Defense; Mr. 
        William Woody, Chief of Law Enforcement, U.S. Fish and 
        Wildlife Service.
          March 22, 2016--Subcommittee on the Middle East and 
        North Africa: ``Hezbollah's Growing Threat Against U.S. 
        National Security Interests in the Middle East.'' 
        Matthew Levitt, Ph.D., Director, Stein Program on 
        Counterterrorism and Intelligence, Washington Institute 
        for Near East Policy; Mr. Tony Badran, Research Fellow, 
        Foundation for Defense of Democracies; Daniel L. Byman, 
        Ph.D., Professor, Security Studies Program, Edmund A. 
        Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.
          September 17, 2015--Subcommittee on the Middle East 
        and North Africa: ``Major Beneficiaries of the Iran 
        Deal: IRGC and Hezbollah.'' Emanuele Ottolenghi, Ph.D., 
        Senior Fellow, Foundation for Defense of Democracies; 
        Matthew Levitt, Ph.D., Fromer-Wexler Fellow, Director, 
        Stein Program on Counterterrorism and Intelligence, 
        Washington Institute for Near East Policy; Suzanne 
        Maloney, Ph.D., Interim Deputy Director, Center for 
        Middle East Policy, The Brookings Institution.
          July 28, 2015--Joint Hearing: Subcommittee on Asia 
        and the Pacific, Subcommittee on Terrorism, 
        Nonproliferation, and Trade, and Subcommittee on the 
        Middle East and North Africa: ``The Iran-North Korea 
        Strategic Alliance.'' Mr. Ilan Berman, Vice President, 
        American Foreign Policy Council; Ms. Claudia Rosett, 
        Journalist-in-Residence, Foundation for Defense of 
        Democracies; Larry Niksch, Ph.D., Senior Associate, 
        Center for Strategic and International Studies; Jim 
        Walsh, Ph.D., Research Associate, Security Studies 
        Program, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
          June 10, 2015--Joint Hearing: Committee on Foreign 
        Affairs, Subcommittee on the Middle East and North 
        Africa and Committee on Armed Services, Subcommittee on 
        Strategic Forces: ``Iran's Enduring Ballistic Missile 
        Threat.'' Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn, USA, 
        Retired (former Director, Defense Intelligence Agency); 
        The Honorable Robert Joseph, Ph.D., Senior Scholar, 
        National Institute for Public Policy (former Under 
        Secretary of State for Arms Control and International 
        Security); David A. Cooper, Ph.D., James V. Forrestal 
        Professor and Chair of the Department of National 
        Security Affairs, U.S. Naval War College; Anthony H. 
        Cordesman, Ph.D., Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy, 
        Center for Strategic and International Studies.
          March 18, 2015--Joint Hearing: Subcommittee on the 
        Middle East and North Africa and Subcommittee on the 
        Western Hemisphere: ``Iran and Hezbollah in the Western 
        Hemisphere.'' Mr. Joseph Humire, Author; Mr. Dardo 
        Lopez-Dolz (former Vice Minister of Interior of Peru); 
        Mr. Scott Modell, Senior Advisor, The Rapidan Group; 
        and Mr. Michael Shifter, President, Inter-American 
        Dialogue.
          February 11, 2015--Subcommittee on Terrorism, 
        Nonproliferation, and Trade: ``State Sponsor of Terror: 
        The Global Threat of Iran.'' Frederick W. Kagan, Ph.D., 
        Christopher DeMuth Chair and Director, Critical Threats 
        Project, American Enterprise Institute; Mr. Ilan I. 
        Berman, Vice President, American Foreign Policy 
        Council; Mr. Tony Badran, Research Fellow, Foundation 
        for Defense of Democracies; and Daniel L. Byman, Ph.D., 
        Professor, Security Studies Program, Edmund A. Walsh 
        School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University.

                        Committee Consideration

    On September 14, 2016, the Committee on Foreign Affairs 
marked up H.R. 5931 in open session, pursuant to notice.

        1) LRep. Engel offered an amendment, Engel 291 (in the 
        nature of a substitute), which was not agreed to, by a 
        roll call vote of 16 ayes and 21 noes.

          L  Voting YES: Engel, Sherman, Meeks, Sires, 
        Connolly, Higgins, Keating, Grayson, Bera, Lowenthal, 
        Meng, Frankel, Gabbard, Castro, Kelly, Boyle.
          L  Voting NO: Royce, Smith (NJ), Ros-Lehtinen, 
        Chabot, Wilson, McCaul, Salmon, Issa, Marino, Duncan, 
        Brooks, Cook, Weber, Perry, DeSantis, Meadows, Yoho, 
        Ribble, Trott, Zeldin, Donovan.

        2) LRep. Zeldin offered an amendment, Zeldin 46 
        (augmenting reporting requirements for future U.S. 
        settlements with Iran), which was agreed to by voice 
        vote.

    H.R. 5931, as amended, was agreed to by a roll call vote of 
21 ayes and 16 noes.

          Voting YES: Royce, Smith (NJ), Ros-Lehtinen, Chabot, 
        Wilson, McCaul, Salmon, Issa, Marino, Duncan, Brooks, 
        Cook, Weber, Perry, DeSantis, Meadows, Yoho, Ribble, 
        Trott, Zeldin, Donovan.
          Voting NO: Engel, Sherman, Meeks, Sires, Connolly, 
        Higgins, Keating, Grayson, Bera, Lowenthal, Meng, 
        Frankel, Gabbard, Castro, Kelly, Boyle.

    H.R. 5931, as amended, was ordered favorably reported to 
the House, by voice vote.

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The performance goals and objectives of H.R. 5931 are:

     LTo prohibit the payment of ransom to Iran to 
secure the release of hostages;
     LTo prohibit the United States Government from 
making payments to Iran in cash or other hard to trace, cash-
like forms of exchange, such as bearer bonds, so long as Iran 
remains designated as a state sponsor of terrorism or primary 
money laundering concern;
     LTo ensure that Congress has greater insight and 
transparency regarding outstanding claims and likely 
settlements before the Iran-United States Claims Tribunal;
     LTo ensure that Congress receives substantial 
advance notice of: future settlement payments to Iran; claims, 
counter-claims, and subrogated claims affected by such 
settlements; and recipients of settlement payments; and
     LTo ensure that future settlement payments to Iran 
are in the best interests of the United States.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of rules of 
the House of Representatives, the committee reports that 
findings and recommendations of the committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of House Rule X, are 
incorporated in the descriptive portions of this report, 
particularly in the ``Background and Purpose'' and ``Section-
by-Section Analysis'' sections.

      New Budget Authority, Tax Expenditures, and Federal Mandates

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(2) of House Rule XIII and 
the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (P.L. 104-4), the committee 
adopts as its own the estimate of new budget authority, 
entitlement authority, tax expenditure or revenues, and Federal 
mandates contained in the cost estimate prepared by the 
Director of the Congressional Budget Office pursuant to section 
402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                Washington, DC, September 16, 2016.

Hon. Edward R. Royce, Chairman,
Committee on Foreign Affairs,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.

    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 5931, the 
Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Sunita 
D'Monte, who can be reached at 226-2840.
            Sincerely,
                                                Keith Hall.
Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable Eliot L. Engel
        Ranking Member
H.R. 5931--Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran Act.
    As reported by the House Committee on Foreign Affairs on 
September 14, 2016.
    H.R. 5931 would prohibit the Government of the United 
States from making payments to the Government of Iran through 
promissory notes (including currency) issued by the United 
States or any foreign government. In addition, the bill would 
require that payments to settle any claim being considered by 
the special tribunal to resolve disputes between Iran and the 
United States be made pursuant to a license from the Department 
of the Treasury and after providing certain notifications to 
the Congress. Finally, the legislation would require the 
President to report to the Congress on outstanding claims 
before the tribunal.
    Based on an analysis of information from the Department of 
State, CBO expects that there will be no payments made to Iran 
in the near future resulting from cases being considered by the 
tribunal. However, it is possible that payments related to such 
cases might be made later in the 2017-2026 period; those 
payments would be treated as direct spending. Enacting the bill 
would impose limitations on the ability of the Federal 
Government to make such payments to Iran and thus could reduce 
direct spending; therefore, pay-as-you-go procedures apply. 
However, CBO has no basis for estimating the timing or amounts 
of those effects, if any. Enacting the bill would not affect 
revenues.
    In addition, CBO estimates that implementing the reporting 
and notification requirements under H.R. 5931 would cost less 
than $500,000 over the 2017-2021 period; such spending would be 
subject to the availability of appropriated funds.
    CBO estimates that enacting H.R. 5931 would not increase 
net direct spending or on-budget deficits in any of the four 
consecutive 10-year periods beginning in 2027.
    H.R. 5931 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act and 
would not affect the budgets of state, local, or tribal 
governments.
    The CBO staff contact for this estimate is Sunita D'Monte. 
The estimate was approved by H. Samuel Papenfuss, Deputy 
Assistant Director for Budget Analysis.

                          Directed Rule Making

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of House Rule XIII, as modified by 
section 3(i) of H. Res. 5 during the 114th Congress, the 
committee notes that H.R. 5931 contains no directed rule-making 
provisions.

                  Non-Duplication of Federal Programs

    Pursuant to clause 3(c) of House Rule XIII, as modified by 
section 3(g)(2) of H. Res. 5 during the 114th Congress, the 
committee states that no provision of this bill establishes or 
reauthorizes a program of the Federal Government known to be 
duplicative of another Federal program, a program that was 
included in any report from the Government Accountability 
Office to Congress pursuant to section 21 of Public Law 111-
139, or a program related to a program identified in the most 
recent Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance.

                    Congressional Accountability Act

    H.R. 5931 does not apply to terms and conditions of 
employment or to access to public services or accommodations 
within the legislative branch.

                        New Advisory Committees

    H.R. 5931 does not establish or authorize any new advisory 
committees.

                         Earmark Identification

    H.R. 5931 contains no congressional earmarks, limited tax 
benefits, or limited tariff benefits as described in clauses 
9(e), 9(f), and 9(g) of House Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    Section 1. Short Title. The ``Prohibiting Future Ransom 
Payments to Iran Act.''
    Section 2. Findings. Cites concerns that the Obama 
Administration violated longstanding U.S. policy by releasing 
prisoners and paying ransom for the return of Americans held 
hostage by Iran, a designated state sponsor of terrorism and 
primary money laundering concern.
    Section 3. Statement of Policy. States that it remains U.S. 
policy not to pay ransom or release prisoners in order to 
obtain the release of U.S. citizens taken hostage abroad.
    Section 4. Prohibition on Cash Payments to the Government 
of Iran. Prohibits the U.S. Government from making any direct 
or indirect payments to Iran in U.S. or foreign currency, as 
well as cash-like forms of exchange, such as bearer bonds.
    Provides for greater transparency by requiring that any 
payment to fulfill claims brought before the Iran-U.S. Claims 
Tribunal be made in accordance with the prohibition on cash 
payments, and be made pursuant to a specific license by the 
Department of Treasury, with the payment amount and method 
published in the Federal Register.
    Maintains these restrictions until Iran is no longer 
designated as a state sponsor of terrorism or primary money 
laundering concern.
    Section 5. Report on Outstanding Claims before the Iran-
United States Claims Tribunal. Requires the Administration to 
regularly report to Congress on the status of any claims 
pending before the Iran-U.S. Claims Tribunal, including the 
likelihood that the claims will be resolved.
    Section 6. Notification and Certification Relating to 
Settlements of Outstanding Claims before the Iran-United States 
Claims Tribunal. Requires the President to notify Congress at 
least 30 days before making a payment to Iran to settle a claim 
brought before the tribunal.
    The notification must include: (1) the total amount of the 
payment and how any interest on the payment was calculated, (2) 
a legal analysis of why the settlement was agreed to, and 
description of all the claims and counter-claims it covers, (3) 
a certification that the payment is not a ransom to secure the 
release of hostages held by Iran, (4) an identification of the 
Iranian Government entity that will receive the payment, (5) a 
certification that the payment will not support foreign 
terrorist organizations or the regime of Bashar al-Assad in 
Syria, (6) whether an equal amount of Iranian funds are 
available in the U.S. to satisfy judgments against Iran by 
victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism, (7) a copy of the 
settlement agreement, (8) a description of the disposition of 
any related claims that had been subrogated to the U.S. 
Government, and (9) a certification that the settlement is in 
the best interests of the United States.
    Section 7. Exclusion of Certain Activities. Ensures that 
this Act does not negatively impact the work of U.S. 
intelligence agencies.
    Section 8. Rules of Construction. Clarifies that nothing in 
this Act should be construed to authorize any payment by the 
Government of the United States to the Government of Iran.
    Section 9. Definitions. Defines ``Government of Iran'' and 
``Iran-United States Claims Tribunal.''

                            Dissenting Views

    H.R. 5931, the Prohibiting Future Ransom Payments to Iran 
Act, continues the Majority's false narrative that the United 
States Government paid a ransom for four American prisoners who 
were held in Iran. Moreover, several of the ``findings'' are 
inaccurate and the key provision is inappropriate.
    For those of us who are deeply concerned about Iran, there 
is a need to clarify and strengthen the Congressional oversight 
role regarding United States policy toward Iran. Unfortunately, 
this partisan bill, about which Democrats were never consulted 
during the drafting, does not meet that need.
    In December 2015, the United States Government settled a 
longstanding claim with the Government of Iran regarding 
weapons sales to Iran which were never delivered due to the 
1979 Iranian revolution. The principal of the claim was $400 
million, and in the recent settlement the parties agreed that 
the United States would also pay $1.3 billion in accrued 
interest (for a total of $1.7 billion).The settlement was 
announced on January 17, 2016.
    The 1981 Algiers Accords, which freed 52 American hostages 
trapped in Iran for 444 days, created the U.S.-Iran Claims 
Tribunal to resolve outstanding claims between the two 
countries. There are still over one thousand Iranian claims 
that have yet to be resolved at the Tribunal. All U.S. citizen 
claims against Iran that were registered under the Algiers 
Accords have been resolved, resulting in approximately $2.5 
billion in payments to Americans.
    Payment of the $1.7 billion to Iran under the settlement 
coincided with Implementation Day (January 16, 2016), the day 
that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) concluded 
that Iran had implemented the JCPOA nuclear deal and the United 
States and others would lift nuclear-related sanctions on Iran. 
The payment also coincided with the release of four Iranian-
American prisoners.
    The Administration has categorically denied that this 
payment was a ransom (which would, almost by definition, be a 
payment of U.S. money, not Iranian money in exchange for the 4 
American detainees). The Administration acknowledges that it 
used the payment that the U.S. owed Iran as leverage to ensure 
that the prisoner release went smoothly.
    Last month, a Wall Street Journal article revealed that the 
payment was made in cash. Although the Administration had, 
indeed, briefed Congressional leaders about the $1.7 billion 
settlement, the modality of the payment--in cash--was not made 
clear at the time that the payment was made in January. A cash 
transaction was not required in this settlement; however the 
settlement reportedly required immediate payment, which would 
have been exceedingly difficult to execute by wire transfer, 
considering the slow pace of Iranian access to banks, even to 
its own assets.
    Further, the Administration argues that Iran is having 
difficulty using its financial assets due to fear within the 
banking sector of running afoul of U.S. sanctions. Members of 
Congress on both sides of the aisle are concerned about cash 
transactions with Iran because Iran is a state sponsor of 
terrorism and a jurisdiction of primary money laundering 
concern. However, it is important to note that after Iran takes 
possession of the money--whether provided in cash, check or 
wire transfer--it is impossible to know where and how the money 
is allocated, so it could be argued that the type of 
transaction is immaterial.
    Additionally, the bill does not accomplish what it sets out 
to do. It does not restrict cash payments to Iran. Section 4 of 
the bill prohibits the United States from providing directly or 
indirectly ``promissory notes'' including currency issued by 
the U.S. Government or a foreign government to the Government 
of Iran. The term ``promissory note'' is not defined in this 
legislation. It could be defined as a written agreement between 
two parties that relates to the payment of an obligation. A 
promissory note contains the names of parties, an amount due, 
an interest rate to be applied and a payment schedule.
    Although the United States did not give Iran a promissory 
note in this instance, nevertheless the definition of 
``promissory note'' in this legislation could be interpreted 
broadly as including cash, wire transfer or check, or it could 
be interpreted so narrowly as to not even include cash--the 
purported purpose of the bill. If applied broadly, the 
prohibition would bar virtually any payment from the United 
States to the Government of Iran, thus putting the United 
States in violation of the Algiers Accords.
    The bill would effectively remove the President's ability 
to settle Hague Tribunal claims with Iran for the foreseeable 
and indefinite future by requiring certification and 
notifications that the President cannot realistically make. 
Under the bill, payments pursuant to a settlement would only be 
allowed if the President certified that that, among other 
things, the settlement is not a ransom for individuals held 
hostage by Iran and that the funds provided by the settlement 
would not be used to fund terrorism or support the Assad 
regime. The President would also be required to identify 
whether an equal amount of Iranian funds would be available and 
accessible in the United States to satisfy judgments against 
Iran by victims of Iranian-sponsored terrorism. Not only does 
this saddle settlements or judgments reached under the Algiers 
Accords with a heavy new burden, preventing settlements with 
Iran is, in many cases, to Iran's benefit, since settling 
prevents cases from going to judgment, where the U.S. taxpayer 
could face even greater liability.
    We remain deeply concerned about Iran's behavior. According 
to the State Department, Iran remains the leading State Sponsor 
of Terrorism. President Obama said in August 2015, ``We have no 
illusions about the Iranian Government, or the significance of 
the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force. Iran supports 
terrorist organizations like Hezbollah. It supports proxy 
groups that threaten our interests and the interests of our 
allies--including proxy groups who killed our troops in Iraq. 
They try to destabilize our Gulf partners.'' Our focus must 
remain at preventing and confronting Iran's malign activities. 
However, this bill is not a serious effort at affecting U.S. 
policy toward Iran. Without any input from the minority, we are 
left to conclude that this is a partisan stunt.
    Therefore, we are opposing this bill with the hopes that 
the Majority will return Iran policy and foreign policy back to 
its bipartisan roots. Our country is stronger when we work 
together to affect change in these urgent national security 
issues.

                                   Eliot L. Engel.
                                   Brad Sherman.
                                   Gregory W. Meeks.
                                   Albio Sires.
                                   Gerald E. Connolly.
                                   Theodore E. Deutch.
                                   Brian Higgins.
                                   Karen Bass.
                                   William Keating.
                                   David Cicilline.
                                   Alan Grayson.
                                   Ami Bera.
                                   Alan S. Lowenthal.
                                   Grace Meng.
                                   Lois Frankel.
                                   Tulsi Gabbard.
                                   Joaquin Castro.
                                   Robin L. Kelly.
                                   Brendan F. Boyle.

                                  [all]