The Biden administration has made more funds available to Iran, sparking criticism that the money is used for the propagation of terrorism. The State Department has confirmed that up to $10 billion will now be available for use by the Iranian regime but insists this is for “humanitarian” purposes only.
The decision means Iran can access cash payments from Iraq for electricity imports. The US froze the funds to sanction Iran, but the State Department has waived this sanction. A State Department spokesperson said, “The waiver allows Iraq to use its own funds to render payment for Iranian electricity imports into restricted Iranian accounts in Iraq.”
Richard Goldberg of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies has condemned the move, saying it amounts to a reward for the terrorists that murdered more than 1,400 Israeli civilians on October 7. It is widely known that Iran funds the terror group Hamas, as well as Hezbollah – both of which regularly launch rockets and missiles at Israel.
In August, the government freed up $6 billion for Iranian use in exchange for the release of American prisoners in the Islamic state. South Korea held the cash, but Iran was allowed access, also for “humanitarian” reasons. However, Iran said at the time that it would use the funds however it wished.
Republicans have reacted with outrage at the latest waiver, with Presidential candidate Ron DeSantis denouncing it as “dangerous and reckless.” Fellow GOP contender Nikki Haley said the Biden administration made America appear weak. “We look like fools paying terrorists who attack us and chant Death to America,” she said. Firebrand Senator Marsha Blackburn said the money will inevitably be used to fund terrorism, while Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton described the waiver as “appeasement.”
Iran denied any involvement in the October 7 attack on Israel but Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian warned that the war would escalate if Israel continued its bombardment of the Gaza Strip.