OPINION: This article may contain commentary which reflects the author’s opinion.
Former President Donald Trump claimed he knew on September 11 that Hamas would attack Israel, the day of the Biden administration’s $6 billion Iran deal in exchange for American prisoners.
“I predicted war in Israel immediately after it was announced. They get so much money. At this time, Israel and the United States need a very strong partnership and leadership. We have got to have strong leaders. If you’re not a strong leader, it doesn’t matter how many army tanks you have. He gave them hundreds of millions of dollars. Many people didn’t even know it. Wonder what deal he made,” Trump said.
“Joe Biden betrayed Israel. He betrayed our country as president,” Trump said as he hailed his administration as having been the strongest ever to have stood with the Israeli people.
“I stand proudly with our friend and ally, the state of Israel, and I will do it again,” Trump said. “You heard about today the Hamas terrorists’ invasion. The terror invasion of Israeli territory and the murder of Israeli soldiers and citizens is an act of savagery that must be, and will be, crushed — an event that has to be crushed. Israel’s at war, and the United States has to support Israel. We have to support Israel. There’s been no better president for Israel than me.”
Trump then tore into Biden: “He tweaks the wrong people at the wrong time. He says the wrong thing at the wrong time if he says anything at all. He’s not respected at all. It’s a disgrace. And I can say this, if I’m elected, I’m the only one that can say it: You will never have World War III.”
“What a difference a president makes, right?” Trump concluded. “What a difference the president makes.”
More than 1,100 people have been killed since the Islamist Palestinian group Hamas launched an attack on Israel on Saturday, and Israeli retaliation has put the spotlight on the Iran-backed terrorist organization.
State Department spokesman Antony Blinken said on Sunday that Iran has not been able to spend any of the $6 billion in unfrozen funds that resulted from the prisoner swap between the United States and Iran in September, Reuters reported.
Blinken also said he had “not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there’s certainly a long relationship.”
“In August, details were made public of a complicated agreement that President Joe Biden approved. Five U.S. citizens detained by Tehran were allowed to leave the country in exchange for the transfer of $6 billion in Iranian funds that had been frozen in South Korea. At the same time, five Iranians held in the United States were allowed to leave,” Reuters reported.
“The $6 billion was Iranian money that had been frozen in South Korean banks. After Washington, under former President Donald Trump, placed a total ban on Iran’s oil exports and sanctions on its banking sector in 2019, these Iranian oil revenues were blocked in Seoul,” the outlet added.
Reuters reported that “no money” was sent to Iran and that the funds are still being managed by the Central Bank of Qatar in Doha.
“The facts are these — no U.S. taxpayer dollars were involved,” Blinken told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. “These were Iranian resources that Iran had accumulated from the sale of its oil that were stuck in a bank in South Korea.”
U.S. officials have stated that the money can only be used to import food and other goods from outside Iran, as specified in the prisoner deal with Iran.
The U.S. Treasury’s undersecretary for terrorism and finance, Brian Nelson, said, “All of the money held in restricted accounts in Doha as part of the arrangement to secure the release of five Americans in September remains in Doha. Not a penny has been spent. These restricted funds cannot go to Iran — it can only be used for future humanitarian-related purposes. Any suggestion to the contrary is false and misleading.”