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Key Senate Democrats ask Biden to freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds after Hamas attacks

In the wake of the Hamas attacks on Israel over the weekend, Tester and Manchin have come out in force against allowing Iran to secure the promised funds.

Published: October 10, 2023 8:13pm

Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin, W.Va., and John Tester, Mont., have called on President Joe Biden to freeze $6 billion in Iranian funds the administration agreed to help release to facilitate a recent prisoner swap with Tehran.

Biden, in September, secured a prisoner exchange with Iran, but also agreed to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian assets frozen in South Korea on the condition the funds be used for humanitarian purposes. Critics of the deal, such as former President Donald Trump, warned that it set a poor precedent, would lead to additional hostage taking by hostile regimes, and that the funds would likely be used for terrorism.

Their request comes in the wake of a brutal terrorist incursion into Israel by the Iran-backed Hamas that saw the group inflict considerable civilian casualties. The Israel Defense Forces have since launched retaliatory strikes on the Gaza Strip, which is under Hamas control.

"As American intelligence officials continue to investigate the terrorist attacks carried out by Hamas, we should review our options to hold Iran accountable for any support they may have provided... At a minimum, we should immediately freeze the $6 billion in Iranian assets and explore other financial tools we have at our disposal," Tester said, according to The Hill.

"I wasn’t supportive of the initial $6B transfer. We should absolutely freeze these Iranian assets while we also consider additional sanctions," Manchin added. 

Both Democrats face tough reelection bids in 2024. The pair join a litany of Republicans who have urged the administration to follow the same course. Many Republicans have openly blamed the Biden administration's prisoner swap for allegedly enabling the Hamas incursion.

"Joe Biden funded this attack when he bowed to Iran and gave $6 BILLION to this evil regime that starts every day plotting to destroy Israel," Florida GOP Sen. Rick Scott said over the weekend. "While Biden is silent, his appeasement of Iran and Hamas terrorists is heard in every siren blaring across Israel."

Ben Whedon is an editor and reporter for Just the News. Follow him on X, formerly Twitter.

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