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 October 13, 2023

US agrees to refreeze Iranian funds following Hamas attacks on Israel

The U.S. and Qatar have agreed to block $6 billion in Iranian funds that were recently made available in a prison swap last month.

The move comes after pressure to sanction Iran over its suspected involvement in arming Hamas to attack Israel from the Gaza Strip.

The change

"The move, which stops short of a full refreezing of Iranian funds in Qatar’s banking system, follows the deadly attacks by Hamas on Israel and continued Republican criticism of the Biden administration’s deal with Iran, in which $6 billion was unfrozen in exchange for the release of five detained Americans," the Associated Press wrote.

"The official who outlined the understanding between the U.S. and Qatar was not authorized to comment and spoke on condition of anonymity," it added.

The background

"The money was transferred last month from a South Korean bank to a bank in Qatar. Iran could access the money only through a series of steps, including oversight by the Treasury Department, administration officials have said," NBC News reported.

"Administration officials have said over the past several days that Iran has not accessed any of the money and that the U.S. could re-freeze it at any time," it continued.

Oil too?

"Crude oil exports from Iran have risen on Biden’s watch despite U.S. sanctions aimed at punishing Tehran for its nuclear ambitions, military aggression and support for terrorism," Politico reported.

"Now, last weekend’s violence by the Iranian-allied Palestinian group is fueling new calls for the U.S. to choke off that revenue stream, which Republican lawmakers have lambasted as an ill-fated attempt at 'appeasement,'" it noted.

In addition to Hamas, Iran has been known for arming Hezbollah fighters to the north in Lebanon and working through Syria.

This week, Israel's military also conducted airstrikes that shut down Syria's main airport over concerns of Iranian involvement to escalate more attacks.

The latest move is a good start in pushing back against Iran's influence against Israel but much more is needed to shut down its proxy efforts.

Written By:
Dillon Burroughs

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