A number of prominent Republicans have called for the Biden administration to end the $6 billion deal it brokered to release six hostages from Iran. The criticism comes after the large Hamas attack on Israel, which was likely assisted or planned by Tehran.
Republicans calling for the freezing of the funds earmarked for Iran include former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).
A number of conservative senators, including Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) wrote to the White House, stating that it is “unconscionable” to allow Iran access to the funds.
“We write today to affirm our unwavering support for Israel, our greatest ally in the Middle East, and call on the U.S. Department of State to freeze the accounts in Qatar containing $6 billion in Iranian funds that were released from South Korean accounts in September,” the GOP senators wrote.
“Your administration claims these funds are only available for humanitarian use, but money is fungible, and there is a significant risk they could be used to further efforts by Iran or Hamas against Israel,” they wrote.
The Biden administration argued that the funds released by the U.S. government would only go to humanitarian purposes, including food and medicine. The approximately $6 billion was seized due to American sanctions.
However, the money has not yet been released to the Islamic Republic. It is currently waiting in an account in Qatar and none has been utilized by Tehran.
“You should have canceled the $6 billion you sent to Iran,” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene wrote in response to an X/Twitter post by the president.
You should have canceled the $6 billion you sent to Iran. https://t.co/6ZCUpgVBjW
— Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene🇺🇸 (@RepMTG) October 8, 2023
Former Biden White House press secretary Jen Psaki entered into a heated debate with Rep. Mike Lawler (R-NY) over the funding.
after the Republican said that Hamas had been “emboldened by the Biden administration’s failed policies of appeasement towards Iran with a $6 billion cash giveaway.”
Psaki dismissed his statement as a “talking point” and said that the funds would be “held in a secure bank account.”
Lawler replied by saying that the United States should “not be trading sanctioned funds for hostages.”