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Israel-Hamas conflict: U.S. prevents Iran’s access to $6bn in Qatar

The United States on Thursday announced that Iran’s access to $6 billion in a Qatari bank, part of a prisoner exchange, will remain restricted. Washington has confirmed its authority to freeze the account.

This issue arose in the wake of an attack by Iran-backed Palestinian Hamas militants on Israel, which resulted in over 1,300 casualties and the abduction of hostages into the Palestinian Gaza Strip, Reuters reports.

Reuters reported that a senior U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, revealed that Iran’s access to the funds would not be possible in the foreseeable future.

  • “Iran will not be able to access the funds for the foreseeable future,” the senior U.S. official stated.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a Tel Aviv press conference, emphasized that Iran has not used any of the $6 billion, and strict oversight ensures it’s designated for humanitarian purposes.

  • “We have strict oversight of the funds and we retain the right to freeze them,” Blinken stated.

U.S.-Qatar accord on Iranian Funds amid Hamas backing and UN Mission’s assertion

Multiple U.S. news outlets reported on Thursday that the United States and Qatar had reached an agreement to prevent Iran from accessing these funds.

While Iran openly supports Hamas by providing funding and weaponry, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated on Tuesday that Tehran had no involvement in the Hamas attack on Israel.

The Iranian mission at the United Nations reaffirmed the  U.S. commitment to the agreement governing these funds, which were transferred to Qatar from a South Korean account to address Iranian humanitarian requirements.

These Iranian oil revenues had been previously frozen in Seoul following a complete ban on Iran’s oil exports and sanctions on its banks imposed by the Trump administration in 2019.

  • Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York stressed that “Ihe money rightfully belongs to the people of Iran, earmarked for the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to facilitate the acquisition of all essential and non-sanctioned requisites for the Iranians.”

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