Fact Check: Do We Really Know That Obama Gave Iran $150 Million?

Raushan
President Barack Obama

This week, tensions between the United States and Iran increased when Iran’s foreign minister predicted “heavy losses” for the United States if the battle between Israel and Hamas escalated.

There has been a lot of talk on the right about how President Obama has funded Hamas by giving $150 billion to Iran as tensions rise.

This Is The Claim

On October 16, 2023, Jack Posobiec made a post on X in which he made reference to a tweet by Charlie Kirk from September 11, 2015, which read, “Iran funds Hamas. Americans and Jews are among Hamas’ targets. This time, we’re giving Iran $150 billion. Do you have any idea how that cash will be spent? #IranDeal

Among Posobiec’s writings is the line, “Charlie warned us and now people are mad at him.”

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The Reality

Turning Point USA founder and conservative activist Charlie Kirk was probably alluding to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear agreement with Iran from 2015.

The value of these has not been disclosed, although the greatest estimate cited by US officials is $150 billion, with lower estimates pegged at around $29 billion.

According to a 2018 PolitiFact fact check, the accord gave Iran access to $56 billion, contrary to what then-U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew had informed Congress in July 2015.

The Washington Post states that this sum represents Iran’s foreign cash reserves. It was never meant to be funded by the American people.

The pact involves the United States, China, Russia, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the larger European Union bloc agreeing to relax sanctions on Iran.

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In May 2018, former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal. Following the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian military commander, in a US drone operation authorized by Trump in January 2020, Iran said that it would no longer comply by the provisions of the pact.

For comment, Newsweek contacted a Treasury spokeswoman by email.

Following the October 7 Hamas bombings in Israel, a number of Republicans reported on social media that the Biden administration had recently given $6 billion to Iran.

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In exchange for five Americans, the US agreed to unfreeze $6 billion in Iranian oil revenues held in a South Korean bank, as well as repatriate five Iranian inmates facing accusations in the US.

Following a revelation in The Wall Street Journal that Tehran was involved in the Israeli attacks, the US has not formally tied Iran to them.

According to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, “we have not yet seen evidence that Iran directed or was behind this particular attack, but there is certainly a long relationship.”

On Friday, Democratic Senator Cory Booker informed CBS that the cash had been “frozen.”

“A dollar has not gone out,” said Booker, a member of the Foreign Relations Committee. Senators had obtained “assurances” that the funds had been frozen, he said.

The Decision

False.

In 2015, the United States did not provide Iran $150 billion. In 2015, as part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, Iran committed to reduce its nuclear enrichment operations in exchange for the unfreezing of its own assets.

The US government contributed nothing to this, and the assets were estimated to be worth less than $150 billion by some, including the US Treasury.

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By Raushan
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A Software engineer by profession, cook and blogger by passion
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