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Funds From Sanction Waiver By US Not To Go Into Iran: White House

08:07 AM Mar 16, 2024 IST | NEWS Desk
funds from sanction waiver by us not to go into iran  white house
Funds From Sanction Waiver By US Not To Go Into Iran: White House

Washington, DC [US]: The White House National Security Communications Advisor John Kirby said funds from a sanction waiver extended by the US to permit Iraq to buy energy from Iran will not go to its 'mullahs'.

Addressing a press briefing on Friday, Kirby said not a dime of this money will go to Tehran and added that the sanctions relief that is provided goes to vendors that provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people.

Asked about the warning to Iran two days after renewing a waiver that unlocked USD 10 billion in frozen funds and Iran paying more attention to the administration's actions than words, Kirby said, "I can't speak for the mullahs or what they're paying attention to or not.

I would remind that this sanctions waiver is renewed -- or up for renewal every three months. It's a quarterly thing. Um, it's a sanctions package that was actually put in place by the previous administration, by President Trump and his team that allows for Iraq to be able to work its way off of Iranian energy, so that they can keep the lights on. And we're continuing to work with our Iraqi partners about how to do that.

"But, right now, they still are dependent for a lot of energy from coming from Iran, and so, we don't want to penalize the Iraqi people for efforts that they're still trying to get to wean off of that, and I would remind everybody, and we've talked about this before -- I think, three months ago, we probably talked about this before -- none of this money goes to the mullahs. None of this money goes into Tehran. The sanctions relief that is provided actually is -- goes to vendors that provide humanitarian assistance to the Iranian people. So, not only do the Iraqi people not suffer because of this, the Iranian people aren't going to suffer because of this," he added.

The US government faced criticism after it extended a sanction waiver, despite repeated pushback from those concerned that Iran could misuse the funds.

In a statement shared with Fox News Digital on email, a US State Department spokesperson said, "Under these waivers, no money has been permitted to enter Iran."

Referring to the reported USD 10 billion in Iraqi payments held in an escrow account, the US State Department spokesperson added, "Money goes straight to the trusted vendor or financial institution in another country. The money never touches Iran", according to Fox News.

The Biden administration has renewed the extension just six weeks after three US service members were killed in Jordan and 30 others were injured in a drone attack by an Iran-backed militia in Iraq. The critics continue to remain sceptical about US government's decision despite administration's assurances that the sanction waiver has not enabled Iran to access direct funds.

In a statement, Richard Goldberg, a senior advisor to the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said, "This waiver helped subsidize the murder of three American soldiers in Jordan and non-stop attacks on the US Navy and American-owned ships in the Red Sea." Goldberg added, "Continuing to give Iran access to billions will only further fuel terrorism, missile proliferation and nuclear escalation," Fox News reported.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said his government will make a decision on how to use USD 6 billion in previously frozen funds due to be released in a prisoner exchange agreement with the US. In an interview with NBC News, Raisi said that the money will be spent "wherever we need it."

He said the Americans detained in Iran would be coming home soon and were "very healthy." According to the agreement, Tehran will be allowed to access roughly USD 6 billion in Iranian oil revenues that were blocked in South Korean banks due to US sanctions. However, US officials say Qatar's central bank will oversee the funds and Iran will be permitted to use the money only for humanitarian purposes as per the sanctions imposed by the US.

In the interview, Raisi said that Iran will have "authority" on how to spend the money. According to an Iranian government translator, Raisi said, "This money belongs to the Iranian people, the Iranian government, so the Islamic Republic of Iran will decide what to do with this money.

Asked whether the money would be spent for purposes other than humanitarian needs, he said, "Humanitarian means whatever the Iranian people needs. So this money will be budgeted for those needs. The needs of the Iranian people will be decided and determined by the Iranian government."

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