While the Biden administration has perhaps been more supportive of Israel’s efforts than Hamas expected, it decided on Tuesday not to stop the release of $10 billions dollars in withheld funds to Hamas’s patrons in Tehran. Surely the best way to prolong the fighting in Gaza would be to fund both sides—but that is precisely what the White House has opted to do. Richard Goldberg writes:
The Biden administration argues that the $10 billion sanctions relief is not significant since Iran will be restricted to using the funds for “humanitarian” or “non-sanctioned” purposes only. The administration used this same argument to defend the transfer of $6 billion of Tehran’s assets in September from South Korea to Qatar. Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill both rejected the administration’s claim because money is fungible. If the regime receives billions to cover non-sanctioned expenditures, that frees up an equivalent amount for illicit programs. Iran also has a long track record of processing phony humanitarian transactions for illicit purposes.
In the wake of October 7 and non-stop Iran-directed attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East, Congress should swiftly enact legislation that freezes all cash made available in Iraq, France, Germany, Oman, and Qatar and all other accounts where Iranian funds are held.