When Hamas launched an attack on Israel, President Joe Biden faced criticism for allegedly providing $6 billion in frozen oil profits to Iran, who are supporters of the terrorist group. However, it was swiftly clarified that the administration had not released any of the funds to the Iranian government. Now, the White House has declared that the money will not be returned to Iran.
On October 12, Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo informed House Democrats that the $6 billion designated for humanitarian assistance cannot be accessed. This money originated from Iranian oil sales but became inaccessible when sanctions were imposed on the Middle Eastern nation.
The Biden Administration has engaged in prolonged negotiations with Iran in an attempt to bring them back to the negotiation table for a new nuclear agreement. The intention was to release these funds to humanitarian organizations that had been carefully screened by the United States. The transfer of these funds, previously held in South Korea, was facilitated through Qatar as part of the agreement.
Nonetheless, when Hamas launched an attack on Israel, the situation underwent a transformation. Presently, there is no substantiated proof linking Iran to the vicious assault, which tragically resulted in the deaths of over 1,000 Israelis. Nevertheless, The Washington Post disclosed that the Iranian government had previously furnished training and weaponry to the militant group.
Both Democrats and Republicans urged President Biden to reverse the choice to allocate the funds to Iran. Secretary of State Antony Blinken informed the press that Iran has not utilized or accessed any of the funds.
The Iranian delegation to the United Nations issued a statement to The Washington Post regarding the funds, asserting that it rightfully belongs to the Iranian people and was designated for the Iranian government to procure necessary items, free from sanctions, for the Iranian population.
Biden has not provided a clear stance on whether the funds will be permanently withheld. Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) advocates for redirecting the money to Israel to support their acquisition of additional weaponry.