Biden Renews Sanctions Waiver, Unblocks Billions for Iran

The Biden administration renewed a sanctions waiver for Iran on March 13 that unblocks up to $10 billion in frozen Iranian funds.

The waiver was originally created under Donald Trump in 2018 because Iraq was struggling without energy imports from Iran. It was renewed each year with the condition that payments be secured in an escrow account that Iran could not access.

But that changed last year, when the Biden administration released $10 billion in frozen funds for transfer to a bank in Oman, allowing Iran to use the money for non-sanctionable purposes.

Funding Iran: The State Department maintains that the funds can be accessed by Iran to pay for humanitarian needs only. But Iran has a history of lying about its financial transactions, as four members of Congress noted in a protest letter to Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and State Secretary Antony Blinken (emphasis added):

By waiving the application of sanctions, the administration is maintaining a financial lifeline for the Iranian regime, even as it continues to support terrorist organizations around the world. Iran has a history of lying about humanitarian transactions. There is no reason to think that they will not try to skirt these restrictions again. Additionally, money is fungible, and the waiver and subsequent transfer will free up billions in funds that Iran can now spend on its terrorist proxies, nuclear activities and military.

Other people are questioning the reasons behind the waiver renewal.

The fact that the administration will not even tell the American people how much money Iran has accessed over the last four months—money that subsidized three American soldier deaths and nonstop attacks on the American Navy—should prompt the U.S. Senate to immediately pass the No Funds for Iranian Terrorism Act and send to the president’s desk.
—Richard Goldberg, former White House National Security Council member

The Trumpet said: The U.S. government has a recent history of making deals with Iran that actively support the terrorist-sponsoring nation. Under the Obama administration, America lifted sanctions on Iran in 2016 and released over $100 billion in frozen assets without receiving anything in exchange.

To learn more about how and why America funds Iran, read “Explained: The New Iran Nuclear Deal.”