News anchor schools Nikki Haley over false claims tying Hamas attack to $6bn Iran deal

The US Treasury monitors the $6bn the US paid to Iran, and none of it was used to fund Hamas

Graig Graziosi
Monday 09 October 2023 12:00 EDT
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NBC News anchor schools Nikki Haley over false claims on Hamas and Iran deal

Former UN Ambassador and GOP presidential hopeful Nikki Haley has joined a chorus of Republicans accusing Iran of funding a terror attack against Israel despite there being no evidence to support their claims.

Republicans have been pushing the narrative as a way to tie the attack in Israel to Joe Biden.

Their claim goes like this: Joe Biden gave Iran $6bn to facilitate a prisoner exchange; Iran then used that money to fund Hamas's Saturday attack on Israel that left hundreds dead and wounded.

NBC News' Kristen Welker challenged that narrative during an interview on Sunday with Ms Haley on Meet the Press.

Earlier in the show, Secretary of State Antony Blinken assured the public that the money given to Iran in the prisoner swap was frozen, and has remained frozen, until Iran withdraws it for use in humanitarian endeavors.

Ms Welker asked Ms Haley if she thought it was irresponsible for her primary rivals to push the theory that Mr Biden and the US taxpayers indirectly funded the attack based on nothing more than a vague feeling that it might have happened.

Ms Haley said Mr Blinken's earlier comments were irresponsible, not her colleagues' speculation.

“I actually think it was irresponsible for Secretary Blinken to say that the $6 billion doesn’t weigh in here,” Ms Haley answered. “Let’s be honest with the American people, and understand that Hamas knows, and Iran knows, they’re moving money around as we speak, because they know $6 billion is going to be released. That’s the reality… It doesn’t go to the Iranian people, it goes to terrorist attacks. And Secretary Blinken’s just wrong to imply that this money is not being moved around as we speak to hurt those that love freedom.”

Ms Welker pushed back, reminding her there was no evidence that any money was being moved around to fund attacks.

“And yet, there’s just no proof of that yet,” the reporter said. “This is just the hours after that immediate attack. Is it irresponsible to level that charge when you really don’t have any evidence of that at this point in time?”

The former UN ambassador then advised Ms Welker to "look at what the Iranian people" — not Tehran, but the people — "have done to freedom-loving people around the world."

“Look at what the Iranian people, the Iranian regime has done to threaten Israel over the years. To think that they’re not moving money around, it is irresponsible to say that to the American people," Ms Haley said. "They are moving money around to threaten those they hate.”

Mr Blinken said Sunday that the account holding the $6bn was monitored by US agencies.

“And, again, the account is closely regulated by the U.S. Treasury Department, so it can only be used for things like food, medicine, medical equipment,” he said. “That’s what this is about.”

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