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Critics Slam Biden Administration For Waiver That Gives Iran Access To Multibillion Dollar Fund

via ABC News

The Biden administration has extended a sanctions waiver allowing Iraq to pay for Iranian electricity, drawing criticism from lawmakers who argue that the move effectively funds Iran’s disruptive activities through its proxies.

The waiver, initially set for 120 days, has been extended and involves an extremely complex process to ensure funds are not misused.

“Involving these entities that are well known to us, that we do a lot of outreach and coordination with, make us feel even more comfortable that kind of above the letter of the law,” an official said.

“There is more oversight from a lot of different entities that don’t want these funds to be misused for a variety of different reasons.”

Critics believe the U.S. should cut off or freeze access to such accounts, as Iran’s proxies have carried out numerous attacks on U.S. military personnel and assets across the Middle East.

“It is absolutely outrageous the Biden Administration continues to find ways to send Iran money — especially from Iraq, where the same Iranian-backed militias who are targeting American forces increasingly run the show and are helping keep Iraq addicted to Iranian energy,” Rep. Mike Waltz (R-FL) stated.

“An initial report from Reuters [said] the U.S. has authorized Iran to make a $2.76 billion payment to pay off various debts out of its cash sitting in Iraq, or bulk of that was debt to Turkmenistan for gas, and then also some various international organizations dues, other things that were not itemized at the time,” said advisor Richard Goldberg.

“Maybe there’s going to be a gas-for-oil swap if the U.S. allows,” he added.

“The Iraqis are claiming that they’ve achieved that … Then there’s reports where the Iranian side is saying, actually, the U.S. has authorized the Iranians to use any of the more than $10 billion that’s sitting in escrow in Baghdad.”

“Everybody is focused on the $6 billion and, ‘Is it frozen? What’s happening there?’ … But nobody was noticing the $10 billion over here,” he pressed.

“They are today.”

“This move by the administration is abhorrent and reprehensible,” said Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT).

“Money is fungible and the administration should know better.”

“We should not be giving Iran one cent because it will be used to fund Hamas, Hezbollah and the Houthis. All enemies of Israel and the United States,” Daines added.

The Pentagon reported 56 attacks on troops in Iraq and Syria, with 59 U.S. personnel injured.

State Department officials defended the move, emphasizing that access to food and medicine is not denied to any country, including Iran, and highlighting the imposition of over 400 sanctions on Iran by the administration.

“There is no country in the world where we deny access to food and medicine,” State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller stated.

“That’s true with respect to Russia. It’s true with respect to Iran.”

“It’s true with respect to every country in the world. And it always has been. That is the policy of the United States.”

“When it comes to holding Iran accountable for its destabilizing activities, I would remind you that we have imposed more than 400 sanctions on Iran since the outset of this administration,” he added.

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