The United States and Qatar have reached an agreement to deny Iran the access to a 6-billion-U.S.-dollar account unfrozen by Washington in a deal with Tehran last month that led to five Americans held in Iran returning home, U.S. media reported Thursday.
The Washington Post and The New York Times both reported the agreement between the United States and Qatar, citing people familiar with the matter as saying U.S. Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo briefed House Democrats on the decision Thursday.
The funds at issue belong to Iran and have now been transferred from South Korea to Qatar after the prisoner swap deal was reached.
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who was on a trip to Israel, didn’t confirm whether his country had again cut off the funds, telling reporters at a press availability in Tel Aviv that none of the funds “have actually been spent or accessed in any way by Iran.”
“We have strict oversight of the funds, and we retain the right to freeze them,” Blinken said.
The Joe Biden administration’s decision relating to the Iranian assets reemerged as a hotspot issue after the escalation of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The administration accused Iran of providing broad support for Hamas, despite having no evidence indicating a direct role played by Tehran to facilitate the Hamas attacks on Israel.
At the White House daily briefing Thursday, John Kirby, coordinator for strategic communications at the National Security Council, said there was no update on U.S. intelligence on Iranian involvement in the ongoing conflict between Israel and Palestine.
“We’re still looking into this,” Kirby said. “But, again, no direct evidence that Iran was a participant in these attacks in any way.”
In remarks delivered at a roundtable with Jewish community leaders on Wednesday, Biden warned Iran to “be careful” not to exploit the current situation and widen the ongoing conflict.