‘You Don’t Believe Me’: Kirby Goes On Defense When Doocy Asks About Biden Unfreezing Iranian Funds

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Reagan Reese White House Correspondent
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White House national security spokesperson John Kirby went on defense Monday during a press briefing when Fox News White House correspondent Peter Doocy asked about the previous unfreezing of Iranian funds.

Iran launched hundreds of ballistic missiles and suicide drones Saturday at Israel in response to Israel retaliating April 1 on an Iranian diplomatic compound in Syria. Following the strike, Doocy asked Kirby if the administration regretted the unfreezing of $6 billion in assets to Iran in exchange for five American prisoners.

“Really? No, I don’t think so,” Kirby quipped, before Doocy specified the transaction.

“You’re going to say it’s for humanitarian purposes, but doesn’t that un —” Doocy began before Kirby cut him off.

“— but you don’t believe me?” Kirby responded.

“— well, doesn’t that free up money for them to spend on other stuff? But where do you get the money for an unprecedented number of munitions to — to fire at Israel?” Doocy responded.

“So, first of all, I’m betting, if they’re sitting in Tehran, they’re taking it seriously when President Biden says he’s going to defend Israel, we put skin in the game — a whole heckuva lot of it, and knocked almost everything out of the sky,” Kirby said.

“So, I’m betting they’re taking it pretty seriously. And, as for this — this unfreezing, that none of that fun [sic] — none of those funds — funds set up in an account, by the way, by the previous administration, goes directly to the Supreme Leader, the IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps]. Can only be used for humanitarian purposes and we’re watching that account very, very closely to make sure that that’s what happens,” Kirby responded.

The White House extended a sanctions waiver in March which was poised to release at least $10 billion in frozen funds for the Iranian government, the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“The waiver … which allows for Iraq to import Iranian energy as it works to become energy independent, continues a practice that was started by the Trump administration and has been renewed 21 times since 2018,” the White House told the New York Post about the waiver program.

The Biden administration agreed to unfreeze $6 billion in assets and free a number of Iranian prisoners in exchange for five American prisoners Iran had in captivity in August 2023. After the administration made the decision, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said that Tehran will use the funds on “wherever we need it.”

The Biden administration previously insisted that the funds can only be used on humanitarian needs but Raisi said that Iran has the “authority” wherever they deem appropriate.

Alongside the Qatari government, the Biden administration then decided after Hamas’ Oct. 7 terrorist attack on Israel to prevent Iran from accessing the funds. Hamas is an Iranian-backed terrorist organization. Both Democrat and Republican lawmakers had called for the restriction of the funds following the terrorist attack on Israel.