OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
President Joe Biden’s administration announced on Tuesday there were no plans to claw back and re-freeze $6 billion in Iranian assets after Tehran-backed Hamas launched the deadliest attack against the country of Israel in decades.
In an interview with Fox News, National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby said there are no plans to re-freeze those assets, which were released about a month ago.
“The $6 billion, that the Qataris are holding that was unfrozen in order to get three hostages back.” Fox News’ Martha MacCallum said, asking: “Is that money now going to be refrozen?”
“I don’t want to get ahead of the policy decisions going forward here,” Kirby replied. “As I said last time, you and I talked about this, that money can be refrozen… We won’t hesitate to make that decision if we feel we need to. But I’m not going to get ahead of a policy decision that hasn’t been made yet.”
Some Republicans are already calling on the White House and Biden to re-freeze those assets immediately following the Hamas attack that has left more than 1,000 Israelis and 11 Americans dead.
“The Biden administration is refusing to acknowledge Iran’s role in the unprovoked terrorist attacks on Israel. But Hamas and Hezbollah members say not only did Iran help plan for months, they gave the official green light in Beirut last week,” Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) wrote on X.
“The United States should not be sending a single penny to Iran — let alone $6 billion. I am immediately calling on Biden to reverse course and cancel the ransom agreement,” she added.
The United States should not be sending a single penny to Iran — let alone $6 billion.
I am immediately calling on Biden to reverse course and cancel the ransom agreement.
— Sen. Marsha Blackburn (@MarshaBlackburn) October 9, 2023
U.S. Senate candidate Dave McCormick in Pennsylvania agreed.
“The Biden Administration insists ‘not a penny’ of the $6 billion they promised to Iran has yet to be received by Iran. Given the Hamas attack on Israel, I call on President Biden to block release of the money, and as Senator, I would immediately introduce legislation to put a hold on these funds. Don’t give Iran a penny,” he tweeted.
Former President Donald Trump, who is the leading 2024 GOP nominee, also weighed in.
“This war happened for three reasons: the allowing by the Biden administration of Iran to sell massive amounts of oil and making $60 billion dollars; the United States giving Iran $6 billion dollars ransom; and our country’s perceived weakness with an incompetent and corrupt leader, Joe Biden, who’s laughed at all over the world,” he said.
“Joe Biden betrayed Israel. As president, I will once again stand strongly with the state of Israel,” Trump added. He continued, “We will cut off the money to Palestinian terrorists on day one. And we will re-impose the travel ban on terror-afflicted countries so that the bloodshed and killing we saw this week will never reach American soil.”
Trump then reminded Americans of his strong record of promoting peace in the region, saying, “Less than 4 years ago, we had peace in the Middle East with the historic Abraham Accords—today we have all-out war on Israel. What a difference a President makes.”
To that point, an American citizen is praising Trump for something done by the former president during his term that made it possible for him and his wife to leave Israel shortly after the war began.
Yitz Friedman, with the Washington-based American Accountability Foundation, was in Israel over the weekend as Hamas launched a surprise attack involving thousands of rockets that killed more than 1,000 people, including 11 Americans.
“I would like to thank President Trump. After days of fear and anxiety in Israel, I am finally on my way home to the US. Almost every airline canceled all flights, including our flight home,” Friedman posted on the X platform Tuesday.
The Times of Israel reported that enemy rockets had landed near Ben Gurion Airport in Tel Aviv.
“We [weren’t] sure what to do,” Friedman recounted. “Luckily, one [of] the few airlines still running flights is Emirates. My wife and I just flew from Tel Aviv – passing three or four armed military checkpoints to get to the airport – and are now safe in Dubai waiting for our connecting flight to the US.”
Friedman went on to explain how the former president made a flight to the United Arab Emirates possible via the Abraham Accords, which were a historic peace agreement under which Israel and the UAE agreed to normalize relations between the two countries.
“If not for the Trump-Abraham Accords, this would be unthinkable. There would be no flights from Israel to the UAE,” Friedman added in his post. “To be able to fly to a friendly Arab country when even American flights won’t dare, at a time of war, is miraculous.”