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US, Qatar reach ‘quiet understanding’ to stop $6 billion to Iran

The American move comes "as the U.S. and Israel scrutinize Iran's role in funding and training Hamas," CBS News reported.

Dollar bills on top of a map of Iran. Credit: corlaffra/Shutterstock.
Dollar bills on top of a map of Iran. Credit: corlaffra/Shutterstock.

The United States has reached a “quiet understanding” with Qatar to put a hold on the scheduled transfer of $6 billion to Iran in exchange for five Americans released from detention on Sept. 18.

The American move comes “as the U.S. and Israel scrutinize Iran’s role in funding and training Hamas,” CBS News reported.

Hamas and Hezbollah leaders have praised the Islamic Republic for its assistance in the attack, openly acknowledging that Iranian security officials helped plan Hamas’s devastating assault and gave it the go-ahead at an Oct. 2 Beirut meeting, per The Wall Street Journal.

Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps officers have coordinated with Hamas since at least August to create the three-pronged invasion by land, sea and air, according to the Journal.

The White House has said it has yet to see direct evidence of Iran’s involvement. “We have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship,” U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Sunday. 

Initially, the Biden administration defended itself in the wake of the attack, pushing back on Republican criticism that its Iran prisoner swap contributed to Saturday’s terrorist onslaught.  

“Let’s be clear: The deal to bring U.S. citizens home from Iran has nothing to do with the horrific attack on Israel. Not a penny has been spent,” State Department Spokesman Matthew Miller said on Saturday.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu strongly condemned the prisoner-exchange deal when it was announced in August.

“Israel’s position is known: Arrangements that do not dismantle Iran’s nuclear infrastructure do not stop its nuclear program and only provide it with funds that go to terrorist elements sponsored by Iran,” he said.

The $6 billion, held in a restricted account in South Korea, is money owed to Iran for oil South Korea had purchased before the Trump administration re-imposed sanctions in 2019.

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