President Joe Biden is facing criticism for reportedly considering approving a sanctions waiver that would give the Islamic Republic of Iran access to $10 billion in frozen funds held in Iraq. This news comes just weeks after Iran-backed Hamas carried out a series of deadly attacks on innocent Israeli citizens.
According to a report from The Washington Free Beacon, the waiver would allow Iraq to transfer frozen electricity payments into Iranian bank accounts in other countries in the region. This decision has sparked concerns that the money could be used to fund terrorist activities, specifically by the Palestinian Islamic terrorist group Hamas.
Last month, Hamas carried out a series of unprecedented attacks, murdering over 1,200 Israelis, injuring 5,300, and kidnapping more than 240 people. It is believed that Iran provided weapons and training to Hamas in the weeks leading up to these attacks.
Biden had previously agreed to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets for a prisoner swap but later agreed with Qatar to re-freeze the funds following pressure from Congress and the American people. However, it appears that the Biden administration is now pushing to release the funds, despite ongoing concerns about Iran's use of the money.
MORE: Biden administration may be attempting to classify the waiver. Sent to House and Senate Security Offices to prevent public oversight tonight. The law requires an unclassified waiver but permits a classified annex. White House trying to hide this $10 billion to Iran. https://t.co/mivKs4OGmd
— Richard Goldberg (@rich_goldberg) November 14, 2023
Richard Goldberg, a former Trump administration official, raised alarm about the State Department's move to send the waiver to Congress late on Tuesday evening. He noted that the timing of the release may be an attempt to classify the waiver, as it was sent to House and Senate Security Offices only a few hours before midnight. The White House could be attempting to hide the waiver and prevent public oversight, according to Goldberg.
Biden's decision to potentially release the frozen funds is particularly concerning in light of recent comments made by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi. In a September interview with NBC News, Raisi stated that the money would be spent as the Islamic Republic of Iran sees fit. He emphasized that the funds would not be limited to humanitarian purposes, as the Biden administration had previously claimed.
When asked if the money would be used for more than just humanitarian purposes, Raisi responded, "Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people need." He went on to say that the Iranian government would determine and budget for those needs.
Critics of the potential sanctions waiver argue that releasing the frozen funds would ultimately benefit the regime and enable them to continue supporting terrorist activities around the region. They are urging the Biden administration to reconsider this decision and prioritize the safety and security of innocent civilians over financial support for Iran.