The United States and Qatar have reached an agreement to prevent Iran from accessing a $6 billion humanitarian aid fund following a Hamas attack on Israel, according to Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo. The decision comes in the wake of a recent agreement between the U.S. and Iran to establish the aid fund as part of a prisoner exchange deal aimed at reducing regional tensions. The fund, financed by Iranian oil sales, was subject to U.S. approval for each transaction.
However, President Joe Biden has been under increasing bipartisan pressure to prevent Iran from using the funds due to concerns over Tehran’s ties to Hamas. Despite claims that Hamas has received weapons and training from Iran, no direct evidence of Iran’s involvement in the violence has been found.
Adeyemo assured House Democrats that the funds would not be released in the near future. This statement has led to calls from senators across party lines, including Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sherrod Brown, for the Biden administration to back out of the agreement.
Iran’s UN mission responded by stating that the U.S. cannot renege on the agreement and that the funds rightfully belong to the Iranian people. Trita Parsi, executive vice president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, warned that rescinding the aid could strengthen hard-line voices in Iran and potentially shift the regime’s stance towards developing a nuclear weapon.
Read more at The Washington Post.