Iranian officials claim the Islamic Republic still has full access to $6 billion in funds despite the United States and Qatar agreeing to restrict access after the Oct. 7 massacre by Hamas terrorists in Israel.
Iran “has the freedom to utilize the funds based on its needs,” Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Dec. 4.
Just one day before, Mohammad Reza Farzin, the director of Iran’s central bank, reported that the funds “are not frozen at all,” adding that their transfer is “in process.”
The billions of dollars in frozen Iranian assets were transferred from banks in South Korea to Qatari banks and made available to Iran following a prisoner swap between the U.S. and Iran in September.
The U.S. and Qatar made the joint decision to restrict access to the funds after the Oct. 7 brutal attack on Israel by Hamas, the Gaza-based terror group that receives funding, weapons and training from Iran.
The recent statement out of Tehran came shortly after the Biden administration extended a sanctions waiver that allowed Iran access to more than $10 billion in electricity revenue once held in escrow in Iraq.
“The Biden administration claims it froze the $6 billion in Qatar, while Iran claims that’s not true. Meanwhile, no one is commenting on the $10 billion made available from Iraq.”
“Whatever secret deal Iran believes it has with the White House, no agreement was ever submitted to Congress for review,” said Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).
Taken together, these facts “raise new questions about a supposed secret agreement between the Biden administration and Iran that the White House never submitted for congressional review,” according to the FDD.
“The Biden administration claims it seeks the defeat of Hamas, but it is still facilitating the flow of cash to the terrorist group’s chief patron, the Islamic Republic of Iran. President Biden can’t have it both ways.”
“He must recognize Iran’s complicity in the October 7 massacre and impose meaningful consequences on the Islamist regime,” said the FDD’s Senior Editor and Research Fellow, Tzvi Kahn.
U.S. House Republicans have also sought to hold the Biden administration accountable for enabling the funding of Iranian-backed terrorism in the Middle East.
They, therefore, promoted a bipartisan push in the U.S. House of Representatives to block Iran from ever accessing the $6 billion, through the No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act which passed in a 307-119 vote on Dec.1.