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McCarthy urges Biden to refreeze $6 billion in Iranian funds

Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged President Joe Biden on Monday to refreeze $6 billion of Iranian funds used to free five wrongfully detained American citizens last month after Hamas attacks on Israel. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI
Rep. Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., urged President Joe Biden on Monday to refreeze $6 billion of Iranian funds used to free five wrongfully detained American citizens last month after Hamas attacks on Israel. Photo by Bonnie Cash/UPI | License Photo

Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Former House Speaker Kevin McCarthy urged President Joe Biden to refreeze $6 billion of Iranian funds, used by the United States to free five wrongfully detained American citizens last month, following this weekend's Hamas attacks on Israel.

"Biden's policy on appeasement, including money for hostage deals, must come to an end," McCarthy told reporters Monday.

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"His policy has only emboldened terrorists. And handing over $6 billion to Iran only helps the cause. In explaining that to members of Congress, they said they had provisions to refreeze the money if Iran has done something wrong. They should freeze the money back today."

McCarthy, R-Calif., who was ousted from the speakership last week, blasted the Biden administration during his speech, as he laid out a five-step plan. He called for the rescue of all American hostages, support for Israel, confronting Iran, condemning anti-semitism and securing "our own open border."

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"We must focus on our own security. This just wasn't a failure in Israel on their own intelligence community. It was ours as well," McCarthy claimed.

"In looking at our own intelligence failures, we have to look to our own border," McCarthy added, as he blasted the Biden administration for calling climate change the No. 1 threat.

"The number one threat killing Americans is terrorism. The number one threat is an open border. The number one threat is weakening our economic power by lowering our own ability to produce our own energy. The number one threat is appeasement and funding Iran," McCarthy said.

"Three years ago there was not war in Europe or in Israel, but today there is. The United States must reinstate the maximum pressure campaign against Iran. Refreezing the $6 billion is only the start."

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Secretary of State Antony Blinken said "not a single dollar" has been spent from those unfrozen funds used for the prisoner swap.

"The facts are these -- no U.S. taxpayer dollars were involved," Blinken told CNN on Sunday. "These were Iranian resources that Iran had accumulated from the sale of its oil that were stuck in a bank in South Korea.

"They have had from day one, under our law, under our sanctions, the right to use these monies for humanitarian purposes."

Last month, the United States agreed to release $6 billion in frozen assets to Iran in exchange for the release of five U.S. citizens who had been wrongly detained.

The billions that were unfrozen were for Iranian oil revenue which were to be spent on humanitarian causes, including food, agricultural goods and medicine.

Critics of the deal have argued that the United States does not have the ability to police Iran's purchases in order to prevent abuse of the agreement.

During Monday's remarks, McCarthy argued that sanctions on Iran's production of oil -- to "replace it with American energy" -- would also cut off terrorist funding.

"Under the last administration, Iran was only producing 400,000 barrels of oil a day, now it's 3 million. They're making billions of dollars," McCarthy said.

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"They are wealthier, richer and stronger under this Biden administration and they're using that wealth to fund terrorism, attacking our allies and killing Americans. And it must stop today," he said as he called on Biden to rescue all Americans being held hostage.

"President Biden's No. 1 one priority right now must be finding out how many Americans have been taken hostage and get them home," McCarthy said.

"From last night to this morning, the number of American deaths have doubled from four to nine. We can not repeat what happened in Afghanistan. It must be clear that we do not negotiate with terrorists and no American will be left behind."

As McCarthy called on the United States to confront Iran and extradite the leader of Hamas, he also urged immediate action for Israel and the condemnation of anti-semitism.

"The leader of Hamas is reported to be sitting in a five-star hotel, cheering and watching women, children, grandparents being slaughtered and murdered in the streets. We must now counter this new axis of power," McCarthy said.

"It's an evil axis of Iran, Russia and China. By building stronger coalitions across the Middle East, we must also expand the Abraham accords to world peace and freedom. We need to resupply Israel where they have no doubt that they will ever be overwhelmed."

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"America's grateful for our friendship with Israel," McCarthy added. "We are a better nation because if it. And we must never shy away from defending it."

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