Republican senators are calling on the Biden administration to freeze Qatari bank accounts containing $6 billion in Iranian funds. This demand comes after the U.S. government released these funds from South Korea in September, just before the terror group Hamas initiated a deadly assault on Israel.
- Concerns Raised: A Wall Street Journal report indicated Iran’s direct involvement in the recent Hamas attack on Israel.
- Death Toll: The conflict has resulted in over 1,800 deaths, including at least 11 Americans.
- Republican Stance: GOP senators, led by Sen. Marsha Blackburn, express concerns over the released funds potentially aiding Hamas or other terror activities.
The senators’ letter to President Joe Biden emphasized the severity of the situation, noting the extensive rocket attacks from Gaza and the kidnapping of over 130 individuals by Hamas terrorists. They criticized the administration’s stance, arguing that even if the funds are earmarked for humanitarian use, they could indirectly support Iran or Hamas’s actions against Israel.
The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) reported significant degradation of Hamas’s capabilities following airstrikes into Gaza. However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu anticipates a prolonged and challenging war. Hamas has issued warnings to Israeli civilians and threatened to broadcast the execution of hostages in retaliation to Israel’s actions.
Republican lawmakers, including House Oversight Committee Chairman James Comer and members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, have expressed concerns over the $6 billion. They believe the funds could bolster Hamas or other terror activities. Sen. Tim Scott has called on Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to testify regarding the funds, emphasizing the need for transparency and answers.
Previous reports have highlighted Iran’s covert influence in the U.S., and members of Congress have criticized the Biden administration for resuming Palestinian aid, despite potential risks of indirectly benefiting Hamas. The U.S. government provided approximately $250 million in assistance to Gaza and the West Bank in 2022.
Sen. Blackburn commented on President Biden’s reluctance to freeze the $6 billion payment to Iran, suggesting that admitting it as a catalyst for the attacks might be the reason for his hesitation.
Original article source: Washington Examiner