After the attack on Israel by the terrorist organization Hamas, former President Donald Trump called on President Joe Biden to refreeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets that were unfrozen as part of a prisoner swap with Iran.
“CROOKED JOE BIDEN MUST TAKE BACK AND FREEZE THE 6 BILLION DOLLARS RIGHT NOW BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE. HOW COULD ANYONE BE SO INCOMPETENT AND STUPID? BIDEN CAUSED THIS WAR, AND IT WILL ONLY GET WORS!!!” posted Trump on his social media site, Truth Social, on Wednesday.
The president’s deal with Iran has come under severe scrutiny, with several experts saying Iran played a part in funding Hamas and potentially planning the weekend attack in Israel that resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people, including 22 Americans.
The Wall Street Journal reported that Hamas planned the devasting attacks on Israel with the assistance of security officials from Iran, who greenlighted the assault in a meeting in Beirut, Lebanon, over a week ago.
Last month, the Biden administration sent five prisoners to Iran in exchange for five American prisoners and unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian assets.
“The Iranian regime hates us. You don’t give money to a regime that hates America,” said Republican candidate and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley.
James Comer, GOP House Oversight Committee Chair of Kentucky, called for a probe into what he called a ransom payment.
“From the Biden administration’s disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal to its $6 billion ransom payment to Iran, President Biden’s policies have led to turmoil in the region,” said Comer. “Congress has a duty to hold the Biden administration accountable for its disastrous foreign policies and to conduct oversight of U.S. taxpayer dollars used for foreign aid.”
Biden administration stands by Iran deal
Despite criticism, the president’s administration stands by the deal with Iran.
“The United States does not regret bringing home American citizens who have been unjustly detained abroad,” said Jake Sullivan, national security adviser, on Tuesday. “As I said before, the president has no higher priority than to get Americans home.”
Officials with the Biden administration continue to insist that none of the money that has been unfrozen has been spent.
“Not a single dollar from that account has actually been spent to date,” said Antony Blinken, Secretary of State, on Sunday. “Iran has, unfortunately, always used and focused its funds on supporting terrorism, on supporting groups like Hamas, and it’s done when there have been sanctions.”
However, administration officials have yet to decide whether they will refreeze assets.
Ebrahim Raisi, president of Iran, has said the money will be spent “wherever we need it.”
Officials at the White House dispute Raisi’s claim.
“It’s not fungible. [Raisi is] just wrong. He’s just flat-out wrong,” said John Kirby, National Security Council coordinator in September. “The way this deal is arranged is that the $6 billion, which is Iranian money, will go to a Qatari bank — Qatari National Bank.”
“The Iranians can request withdrawals for it for humanitarian purposes, and the Qataris, and us, will have sufficient oversight into the request itself to validate the request and then to deliver funds appropriate to that request.”