Republicans are criticizing the Biden administration for unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian assets just months before Iran-backed Hamas militants launched a deadly and massive attack on Israel. The Biden administration has pushed back, calling these claims “false and misleading.”
Sen. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., expressed her concerns, stating, “Just weeks ago, the Biden administration handed over $6 billion to Iran, and today, innocent Israelis were murdered by Iran-backed terrorists.”
Hamas militants invaded areas of southern Israel, firing thousands of rockets and infiltrating the border, resulting in reported casualties.
Republicans point to the recent unfreezing of Iranian funds as a possible source of funding for these attacks. The Biden administration released the funds as part of a prisoner swap deal, allowing the transfer of the money held in a South Korean bank to accounts in Qatar. The administration insists that the money can only be used for humanitarian purposes and that the U.S. will oversee its usage.
State Department spokesperson Matt Miller responded to these claims, stating that “not a penny has been spent, and when it is, it can only go for humanitarian needs like food and medicine.”
Republicans argue that the money is still fungible and could potentially be diverted elsewhere. Iran is known to back Hamas and praised the attacks on Israel.
Sen. Rick Scott, R-Fla., voiced his concerns on social media, linking the funding to the attacks, saying, “Every dollar given to Iran funds terrorism in the Ayatollah’s quest to destroy Israel.”
In the House, Rep. Dan Bishop, R-N.C., criticized the Biden administration, stating that Biden “just gave Hamas sponsor Iran $6 billion.”
The White House and National Security Council have pushed back against these claims, calling them “shameful lies” and emphasizing that the funds can only be used for humanitarian purposes.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken condemned the attacks, expressing support for Israel’s right to defend itself.
This incident underscores the ongoing tensions in the Middle East and the complex nature of international relations.