According to 2 people who talked on the condition of confidentiality to discuss the private remarks, U.S. officials and the Qatari government agreed on a plan to prevent Iran from getting a $6 billion account for emergency aid in light of Hamas’s attack on Israel. The deputy Treasury secretary Wally Adeyemo remarked to House Democrats on Thursday.
Just a few weeks after the United States and Iran announced a deal on the funds, the Biden administration’s decision to deny access could have significant geopolitical ramifications, undermining discussions with Tehran that took years to complete. Aides to Biden had denied the false claim that cash not yet distributed had funded the Hamas attack. On Capitol Hill, they nevertheless encountered a bipartisan response intended to stop the money from being sent to Iran.
In exchange for getting out of five Americans held captive in Iran, President Joe Biden pledged to unfreeze the cash. Republicans have claimed the agreement is to blame for the attack and have referred to it as American taxpayer money funding the strike in the wake of Israel’s declaration of war.
Although Iran has historically supported Hamas as well as other front organizations like Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Houthis in Yemen, the United States has not publicly tied Iran to the preparation of the latest attack.
However, considering the stringent restrictions that were previously attached to the funds, it appears that the “quiet understanding” not to shift the money at this time is mostly symbolic.
Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken refused to affirm that Iran would not be allowed access to the account when speaking to the media on Thursday in Tel Aviv. But he pointed out that Iran hasn’t really spent or accessed any of the money that has now been sent to Qatar.
The funds were transferred in accordance with the terms of the prisoner swap last month from South Korean banks, where they had accumulated as Seoul bought Iranian oil in accordance with a deal involving the Trump administration, which had cut off the majority of Iran’s energy exports. Iran, however, claimed that those institutions made it difficult to obtain the money because they were concerned about coming under U.S. sanctions.
When questioned about the campaign to halt the aid, Iran’s mission to the UN issued a statement saying that the money rightfully belonged to the Iranian people and was designated for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to make it easier for Iranians to acquire all necessary and non-sanctioned necessities.
Following the Hamas attack, politicians from both sides and former president Donald Trump slammed the deal.
The accord was misrepresented by Trump on Saturday when he criticized Biden and said that this war was caused in part by the United States handing Iran $6 billion. How about that deal? Another presidential candidate, Sen. Tim Scott, claimed that Joe Biden was responsible for funding these attacks on Israel.
Iran would only be allowed to use the funds for certain humanitarian trade agreements, and the US administration would closely monitor the approval of those activities. It was predicted that it would take Iran months or maybe years to be ready to use the money.
Iran Helped Hamas
In the past, Iran has provided money, weapons, and training to Hamas, which governs the Gaza Strip, as part of the continuous proxy conflict between Iran and Israel.
Although American officials have kept silent over Iran’s role in the attack on Saturday, many intelligence professionals have stated that the attack’s complexity points to outside assistance. In addition to launching a ground assault, Hamas also launched missile and drone attacks. The organization used bulldozers and paragliders among other tools to breach the blockade and strike Israeli communications.
According to Hamas leaders, The Wall Street Journal Iran encouraged the attack, despite Iran’s denial of any involvement. The strike was the bloodiest in Israel in decades, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi applauded Hamas on their success.