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Iran’s $6 billion fund in Qatari banks still not accessed after Hamas attack, sources say

US citizens Siamak Namazi, Emad Sharqi and Morad Tahbaz arrive at Doha International Airport in September. AFP

Qatari and US officers confirmed that Iran has nonetheless not accessed a $6 billion fund that was deposited in Qatari financial institution accounts as a part of a prisoners trade deal final month.

After the militant group Hamas’s shock assault on Israel, numerous information retailers reported that the US and Qatari officers would freeze the fund.

Qatari overseas ministry sources instructed The Nationwide that “nothing has modified” by way of their insurance policies concerning the fund and that Iran has not but accessed any of the $6 billion.

The cash in query was unfrozen in a US-Iran prisoner-swap deal introduced in latest weeks, wherein 5 US detainees have been launched by Iran after the funds have been transferred to accounts in Qatar.

However The Washington Publish reported on Thursday {that a} choice was made to halt entry to the funds, whereas President Joe Biden faces rising strain on the matter given issues over Iran’s connections to Hamas.

Tehran, which financially and militarily backs Hamas, has come underneath intense scrutiny since fighters from the militant group stormed throughout Israel’s southern border on the weekend.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed that the funds weren’t essentially re-frozen however that strict oversight stays in place.

“Now we have strict oversight of the funds and we retain the fitting to freeze them,” Mr Blinken mentioned in Tel Aviv on Thursday.

5 US prisoners launched from Iran in swap

Five US prisoners released from Iran in swap

“Not one of the funds which have now gone to Qatar have really been spent or accessed in any means by Iran. Certainly, funds from that account are overseen by the Treasury Division and might solely be disbursed for humanitarian items, meals, medication, medical tools,” he added.

US Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo instructed Democrats within the Home of Representatives that the Iran funds should not “going anyplace anytime quickly,” based on The Washington Publish report.

Some US senators have known as for a re-freeze of the $6 billion in Iranian oil income because the battle raged on.

The Biden administration maintains that the cash is restricted to humanitarian use, and beforehand mentioned it had but to be disbursed.

A former senior US intelligence official warned Congress final month that Iran may divert billions of {dollars} in unfrozen humanitarian funds to its missile programme and proxy teams.

Norman Roule, who labored on the Iran file on the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence from 2008 till 2017, mentioned Tehran may simply exploit the association.

“The deal’s monetary reduction permits Iran to divert sources beforehand meant for humanitarian purchases to its safety forces, missile programmes, proxy teams and terrorism,” Mr Roule, now a senior adviser on the Centre for Strategic and Worldwide Research, instructed a Republican-majority subcommittee listening to on the Center East and North Africa.

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