Members of the Biden administration appeared to be on defense following the unprecedented assault by Hamas terrorists on Israel this weekend. A number of GOP lawmakers questioned the White House’s September decision to transfer about $6 billion to Iran for hostages, considering the Islamic Republic’s support of groups such as Hamas.
The Biden administration announced a deal in September to unfreeze assets taken as part of sanctions on Iran. The United States opposes both Iran’s support for terrorism and its nuclear program.
Secretary of State Antony Bliken denied that any of the funds earmarked for Iran went to the terrorist attack in Israel. He said that the funds were only to be spent for “humanitarian purposes.”
“The account is closely regulated by the U.S. Treasury Department. It could only be used for things like food, medicine, medical equipment. That is what this is about,” Blinken said.
He said that the funds had not yet been unfrozen and that “it is deeply unfortunate that so many are playing politics when Israel is under attack.”
An American negotiator, Rob Malley, is currently under investigation over concerns about his security clearance. He was placed on leave by the administration in June.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said over the summer that Malley and President Joe Biden “are abandoning the Iranian people and enriching their oppressors” by lifting some sanctions on Iran.
Biden’s #Iran envoy Robert Malley on HAMAS: “We may disagree with them, but they have their own rationality.”
Malley is “on leave” from his job at @StateDept & is currently under investigation by the @FBI pic.twitter.com/GSyMM3uaW3
— Alireza Nader علیرضا نادر (@AlirezaNader) October 8, 2023
Tehran is the primary supporter of a number of organizations and regimes hostile to the United States. Iran provided much of the funding and weaponry for the Hezbollah terrorist group in Lebanon and supported Houthi rebels in the Yemeni Civil War.
Iran has also been a key supporter of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian Civil War. Assad had assisted a number of militant groups that attacked American forces stationed in Syria and Iraq.
The White House is also considering restarting the Iran nuclear deal negotiated under former President Barack Obama, which legitimized Iran’s nuclear program. Iran maintains that its nuclear research is for peaceful purposes, only.
The previous agreement was scuttled by the Trump administration. After an attack by Iran-backed militants killed an American citizen in Iraq, former President Donald Trump ordered the killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in 2020.