The United States and Qatar have reportedly reached an agreement this week to stop Tehran from gaining access to the $6 billion the Biden administration recently unfroze to release 5 prisoners from Iran in light of last weekend’s attack by Hamas, ABC News reported.
Sources confirmed on Thursday that Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo informed House Democrats during a closed-door briefing that the money will not be “going anywhere anytime soon.”
The agreement with Qatar comes as a group of bipartisan Senators were calling on the White House to suspend the release of the money after the Iranian-backed terror group Hamas launched its grisly surprise attack on Israel last weekend.
While the Biden administration insists that Iran played no direct part in Saturday’s attack, a spokesman for Hamas told the UK’s BBC that the group received support from Iran and others, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Several Senators from both sides of the aisle this week called for the Biden administration to, at minimum, re-freeze the $6 billion until Iran’s role in the attack could be investigated, the Hill reported.
Democrat Senator John Tester of Montana said the US should review its options “to hold Iran accountable” if it supported the Hamas attacks. In the meantime, the Biden administration should “immediately freeze the $6 billion,” Tester said.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said in a statement on Tuesday that the Iranian assets should be frozen and suggested that any country that supported Hamas “should have the most severe sanctions imposed.”
In a press briefing on Thursday, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said the $6 billion remains in a bank in Qatar, and not a single dime has been spent.
Kirby said the White House has seen no “specific evidence” that Iran was “specifically” involved in last Saturday’s attacks, but he acknowledged that Iran is more broadly “complicit” in Hamas’ actions.
When asked to verify the deal with Qatar, Kirby refused to confirm that any changes had occurred.