In recent developments, President Joe Biden is reportedly contemplating the approval of a sanctions waiver that could grant Iran access to $10 billion in frozen funds in Iraq. The waiver, as outlined in a report by The Washington Free Beacon, would allow Iraq to transfer frozen electricity payments into Iranian bank accounts in other regional countries.
This news comes in the aftermath of a series of attacks orchestrated by Hamas, a Palestinian group supported by Iran, resulting in the death of 1,200 Israelis, the injury of over 5,300 individuals, and the kidnapping of more than 240 people. The weapons used in these attacks were allegedly provided by Iran, which also reportedly trained hundreds of Hamas terrorists leading up to the assaults.
It is noted that President Biden had initially agreed to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets for a prisoner swap prior to the terrorist attacks on October 7. However, in response to considerable pressure from Congress and the public, the funds were re-frozen in collaboration with Qatar.
Richard Goldberg, a former Trump administration official and current senior adviser at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, raised concerns about the State Department’s handling of the waiver. He suggested that the department may be attempting to classify the waiver, potentially hindering public oversight. According to Goldberg, the waiver was sent to Congress just before 5 p.m. ET to prevent review by key committees until the following morning.
In a September NBC News interview, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi asserted that Iran would decide how to spend the funds, contradicting the Biden administration’s claims that the money would be accessible for humanitarian purposes. Raisi stated that the money belongs to Iran, and they would allocate it as needed, emphasizing the authority of the Iranian government in determining its usage.
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