Biden accused of culpability in Iran-backed Hamas attack on Israel after unfreezing $6 billion in Iranian funds

 October 10, 2023

Hamas, the Iranian-backed Palestinian terrorist group, launched a massive and well-coordinated combined arms assault on Israel over the weekend that resulted in more than 1,000 Israeli citizens and soldiers being ruthlessly murdered or kidnapped, raped, and tortured, with many of those heinous acts being shared publicly in videos posted online.

Some Republicans have accused President Joe Biden of being culpable, to an extent, in the atrocities committed by Hamas that can be linked back to Iran, by way of Biden's appeasement of the Islamist Republic and provision of funds to its ruling regime, the Associated Press reported.

More specifically, Biden's critics point to the U.S.-ordered release last month of $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been frozen in South Korean banks due to sanctions as part of a deal that included the release of five American citizens held prisoner in Iran.

Iran supported the Hamas attack; Biden unfroze $6 billion in Iranian funds

First, while there is not yet any concrete evidence directly linking Iran to the Hamas attacks on Israel, multiple sources are reporting -- including the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post -- and the Biden administration itself has acknowledged, that Iran is complicit in that it provided Hamas with the funding, planning, training, and weapons necessary to pull off its assault against the Israelis that is unprecedented in terms of size and scope and coordination.

"The amount of training, logistics, communication, personnel, and weapons required provides a massive footprint," a former CIA counterterrorism operative told the Post. "This suggests both Iranian involvement, given the complexity of the attack, and highlights the colossal intelligence failure."

Given the near-certainty that Iran played a key role in the murderous Hamas attack against Israel, some of President Biden's GOP critics and opponents have pointed to the administration's ordered release of the $6 billion frozen Iranian funds as helping to fund the egregious terror that was unleashed over the weekend.

Of course, the Biden White House, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken particularly, fervently deny such accusations and have insisted that Iran used none of the $6 billion to fund the Hamas attack as it remains parked in a Qatari bank under watch by the U.S. Treasury Department and is only allowed to be used for humanitarian purposes like food and medicine and other necessities for the Palestinian people residing under Hamas rule in Gaza.

Money is "fungible" and can be moved around for different purposes

PolitiFact dutifully repeated the Biden administration's talking points about the purported constraints placed on the $6 billion in unfrozen Iranian funds but could not fully debunk and dismiss the Republican accusations against the president.

That is because, as has been pointed out by some critics, money is "fungible" and can be moved around to serve different purposes, meaning that while the $6 billion in unfrozen funds may not have directly financed the Hamas attack, the promise of the eventual infusion of that cash into the Iranian regime's pockets allowed it to free up other funds in its budget to benefit Hamas and support their shared plans to attack Israel.

Such an argument was alluded to on Saturday by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, a top contender for the GOP presidential nomination, who said in a social media post, "Israel is now under attack by Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists. Iran has helped fund this war against Israel and Joe Biden's policies that have gone easy on Iran have helped fill their coffers."

Likewise, the New York Post reported that former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, another GOP presidential candidate, made a similar accusation Sunday on NBC's "Meet the Press," and said, "I actually think it was irresponsible for Secretary Blinken to say that the $6 billion doesn’t weigh in here," and added, "I mean, let’s be honest with the American people and understand that Hamas knows and Iran knows they’re moving money around as we speak because they know $6 billion is going to be released."

Senate Republicans call for Iranian funds to be refrozen

Meanwhile, Fox News reported that a group of Senate Republicans are now urging the Biden administration to immediately refreeze the $6 billion in Iranian funds in light of the weekend's atrocities committed by the Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists against innocent Israeli civilians and foreign tourists -- including several Americans who've reportedly been killed or captured.

"Your administration claims these funds are only available for humanitarian use, but money is fungible, and there is a significant risk they could be used to further efforts by Iran or Hamas against Israel," the lawmakers wrote in a letter to President Biden. "Moreover, allowing $6 billion to flow into Iran’s economy, even if the purpose is for humanitarian aid, allows the Iranian regime to reallocate even more funds to supporting terrorism."

"The State Department should immediately rescind the waivers that allowed Iranian funds to be converted and moved to more accessible bank accounts, as well as work with U.S. ally Qatar to immediately freeze the accounts containing these funds," they added.

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