Alarm Is Heard in the Senate as Biden Okays $10 Billion for Iran, Fueling the Very Terrorists Who Are Attacking Israel and America

This makes it look, one analyst says, like ‘the U.S. is fearing Iran more than Iran fears the U.S.’

Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images
Senator Cruz on May 3, 2023, at Washington, D.C. 'It is simply insane that the Biden administration continues to allow tens of billions to flow to the Ayatollah, adding up so far to almost $100 billion in the last three years,' he tells the Sun. Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

As American forces are attacked by the Islamic Republic’s proxies and in the aftermath of Hamas’s unprecedented horrors, the Biden administration is seeking to ease sanctions on Iran — a move that will mean more money for Hamas, though Congress is pushing back.  

The administration on Tuesday issued a new 120-day sanction waiver, allowing Iraq to pay Iran $10 billion for electricity provided by Tehran. President Biden’s policies have added between $80 billion and $100 billion to Iran’s coffers through unfreezing of sanctioned funds, ransoming hostages, and failing to enforce the Iranian oil export embargo.

“It is simply insane that the Biden administration continues to allow tens of billions to flow to the Ayatollah, adding up so far to almost $100 billion in the last three years,” Senator Cruz tells the Sun. The Texas senator this week introduced the Hamas Sanctions Act, which would include freezing Iran’s overseas funds released by Mr. Biden.

The Department of State’s spokesman, Matt Miller, dismissed the latest waiver as mere routine, saying Tuesday that since 2018 “there are 20 waivers that have been issued for the payment from Iraq for Iranian electricity imports,” including by the Trump administration. 

Yet, the latest waiver’s timing is far from routine. Just since mid-October, Iranian-financed militias have conducted at least 55 attacks on American troops in Iraq and Syria. Iran also finances the Hamas terror machine to the tune of $200 million a year.

“The Iranian regime is filled with theocratic lunatics who openly say they want to murder Americans and who funded and armed the Hamas terrorists who murdered thousands of Israelis and dozens of Americans on October 7,” Mr. Cruz says. “The Biden administration is explicitly enabling Hamas’s war on Israel and terrorism around the world.”   

Administration officials disagree. The funds are held in accounts that “can only be used to pay for food, medicine, humanitarian purposes, and other non-sanctionable activities,” Mr. Miller said, insisting that the administration is holding Iran “accountable for its destabilizing behavior in a number of manners.”

Yet, because money is fungible, the waiver is freeing funds that previously have been sanctioned. “The entire premise of U.S. sanctions is to deny Iran access to money,” a former Trump administration official who’s now with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Richard Goldberg, tells the Sun. “Whether they sell oil, petrochemicals, metals or electricity — the whole point is to deny them payments so they have less money.” 

The House Financial Services Committee passed 11 bipartisan pieces of legislation Tuesday in the wake of what its chairman, Patrick McHenry, described as the “barbaric attack on Israel by Iranian-backed Hamas terrorists and ongoing geopolitical turmoil.”

One such initiative, the Revoke Iranian Funding Act of 2023, was designed to block the September $6 billion ransom to release five American hostages. It is “a surgical strike,” to assure that “assets do not flow to the government of Iran, and the weaponization of Iran,” the bill’s sponsor, Representative Zach Nunn of Iowa, said. 

Yet, sources at the Hill doubt that Congress can block the latest waiver or other forms of cash that reach Tehran. Additionally, the administration is pushing back against reports that Iran has actively helped Hamas plan the October 7 assault that launched the current Mideast war. 

That assertion was bolstered Wednesday by a Reuters report claiming that in an early November meeting at Tehran, the Iranian supreme leader, Ali Khamanei, told the head of Hamas, Ismail Haniyeh, “You gave us no warning of your October 7 attack on Israel and we will not enter the war on your behalf.”

Citing “three senior officials” who are not identified, Reuters reports from Dubai that Iran’s most powerful proxy, Hezbollah, was also surprised by the attack and therefore is unlikely to join the war on Hamas’s behalf.  

“The sourcing for that report is from Iran and Hamas,” and therefore suspect, the policy director at United Against Nuclear Iran, Jason Brodsky, tells the Sun. Its purpose, he adds, is to distance Iran from the attack, which had been planned two years in advance and therefore unlikely to have escaped notice at Tehran. 

Israeli officials warn that the Reuters report could have been designed to lull the IDF to the possibility of a large-scale sneak attack by Hezbollah or other Iranian proxies in Syria or Iraq.

America, meanwhile, has been reluctant to respond with full force to attacks on troops stationed there, fearing the Gaza war could widen and involve Iran and other regional players. 

A timid response to Iran’s aggression and a persistent policy of easing sanctions have created an impression in the region that America is reluctant to confront increasingly assertive enemies. It makes it look, Mr. Bordsky says, like “the U.S. is fearing Iran more than Iran fears the U.S.” 

The New York Sun

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