Questions have been raised over whether or not the monies handed to Iran by the United States could have been used to stage the Hamas attack on Israel on Saturday. Following the September prisoner swap between Iran and the United States, reports indicate Iran has regained access to the $6 billion held in South Korean banks. However, Iran reported receiving $43 million from the United States. According to experts, this sum was set aside for a tribunal after the release of American hostages in Tehran in 1981 to settle trade and commercial problems.
Former President Trump, among others, has criticized the Biden administration, arguing that the $6 billion used in the prisoner exchange might have been used to fund Hamas. According to analysts, oil sales to South Korea are the likely source of Iran’s $6 billion. The use of U.S. dollars for purchases of Iranian oil was sanctioned when the Trump administration withdrew from the nuclear control accord but was subject to a phase-out period. South Korea’s oil exports during that period brought in billions of dollars.
Iran could access $6 billion in frozen assets under U.S. sanctions for humanitarian reasons, such as purchasing medicine and medical equipment. According to Ali Vaez, director of the Iran project at the International Crisis Group, money being interchangeable implies that Iran has more money to spend.
The attack was reportedly planned with assistance from Iranian officials, according to an article published by The Wall Street Journal over the weekend. However, American and Iranian officials have claimed that they found no proof linking Iran to the attack.
Vaez said it was illogical to attach Iran’s receipt of the $6 billion and the subsequent attack by Hamas, given that the latter required months of planning. The terrible attack on Israel had nothing to do with the agreement to bring American citizens home from Iran.