On Wednesday, many Republicans and foreign policy analysts criticized the Biden Administration’s plan to renew a sanctions waiver for Iran that would give the country access to $10 billion currently being held in escrow accounts.
As the New York Post reports, the 120-day waiver was authorized by Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday. It allows for the Iranian government to access the funds, currently being held in Iraq, in exchange for electricity purchases. The move comes despite increased scrutiny of Iran’s active backing of terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East in the aftermath of the Hamas attacks against Israel on October 7th.
Government officials have defended the waiver, saying that it was necessary to prevent Iraq from being unable to access a crucial source of energy from its neighbor. The State Department also claims that certain conditions are in place within the waiver, limiting the Iranian government’s use of the released funds to the purchase of non-sanctioned products such as food and medicine.
The move was slammed by several presidential candidates, with Governor Ron DeSantis (R-Fla.) pointing out that the Biden White House announced the waiver “on the same day as the biggest pro-Israel rally in American history.” Former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley (R-S.C.), who has been catching up to DeSantis for second place in recent polling, said that the move by Biden makes the United States “look like fools.”
Senator Todd Young (R-Ind.) denounced the move as “unconscionable,” while Senator Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.) called it “madness.”
“Iran financially supports Hamas’ terrorism,” Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) pointed out online. “Why would Biden want to send another $10 billion to Tehran?”
“After refusing to permanently freeze the $6 billion ransom payment to Iran, the administration released another $10 billion,” said Senator Tom Cotton (R-Ark.). “This appeasement only emboldens the Iranian regime and its proxies to continue their attacks on American troops and our allies.”
Meanwhile, foreign policy analysts and national security experts say there is no guarantee that Iran won’t simply use the money to continue funding terrorist organizations or otherwise undermining both the United States and Israel.
Mark Dubowitz, the CEO of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, issued “strong condemnation” for Biden’s approval of the sanctions waiver, pointing out that Iran was the “main financier of and weapons supplier for the horrific October 7 attacks on Israel.”
“It is beyond belief that he would make available $10 billion for a regime that will turn around and use this money to wage war against America and Israel,” Dubowitz added.
Since the October 7th attacks, where over 1,400 Israelis were slaughtered by Hamas terrorists, Israel has been engaged in a fierce war of retaliation against Hamas, destroying many neighborhoods in the Gaza Strip and killing numerous Hamas fighters, while Hamas holds onto many Jewish hostages as an attempt at maintaining some sort of bargaining chip. In the United States and across the world, mass demonstrations have been taking place against Israel, often featuring acts of vandalism and violence by the mostly Muslim and anti-Semitic participants.