Here’s How Donald Trump’s 2018 Oil Waiver Provided Iran With $6 Billion That Was Later Frozen
Amid the Hamas and Israel conflict, former president Donald J. Trump alleged that Democrat Joe Biden and his administration played a significant role in the Middle-East violence. A number of Republicans, Trump included, accused President Biden of 'unfreezing' the $6 billion oil money reportedly used to fund the attack on Israel.
Apparently, the United States issued a bank transfer of $6 billion in exchange for five American prisoners in the Iranian cell. The Secretary of State, Antony Blinken, denied claims that recently released funds facilitated an attack on Israel. He clarified Biden's administration has no role in promoting the ongoing conflict.
Although Republicans are targeting Biden, apparently, the frozen $6 billion funds that could now be released was made possible because of Trump's decision while still in the White House, reported Newsweek. In 2018, the former president granted South Korea and eight other countries an 'oil waiver' according to which they were allowed to purchase oil from Iran.
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After abandoning the nuclear deal with Iran, Trump imposed several sanctions on the Middle Eastern nations. In 2019, when Trump's administration imposed further bans, South Korea held $6 billion in Iranian funds, which were frozen. However, in the wake of Hamas's surprise attack on Israel, Republicans are implying the released funds have facilitated the conflict.
Trump condemned on his Truth Social platform, "These Hamas attacks are a disgrace and Israel has every right to defend itself with overwhelming force," further alleging, that, "American taxpayer dollars helped fund these attacks, which many reports are saying came from the Biden Administration."
However, Blinken refuted these unsubstantial claims and clarified, "Not a single dollar from that account has actually been spent to date," he said on BBC's This Week. "And in any event, it's very carefully and closely regulated by the Treasury Department to make sure that it's only used for food, for medicine, for medical equipment," reported The Washington Post.
Although the US secretary of state denounced Iran's support to perpetuate the clash, Blinken explained the released $6 billion funds remain untouched. He insisted the released money was strictly meant for humanitarian use. "These funds have absolutely nothing to do with the horrific attacks today, and this is not the time to spread disinformation."
Ali Vaez, the International Crisis Group's Iran project director, echoed Blinken and rejected the notion that released money has been used to fund Hamas. "All the US has done is basically moved restricted assets that Iran had in South Korea to restricted asset and restricted accounts in Doha, through which Iran can only submit requests," clarified Vaez.
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He continued, "The US actually has oversight over every single order that Iran submits to," adding, "It can veto them. It can freeze the funds again. So, this is a deal that is 100 percent in the interest of the United States." The White House spokeswoman Adrienne Watson insisted the waiver was just a "procedural step" in a "sensitive and ongoing process," reported BBC.
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