White House Addresses Concerns Over Iranian Funds and Safety of Americans in Israel

The White House confirmed on Thursday that Iran has not yet tapped into the $6 billion in funds that were released as part of a prisoner exchange agreement with the U.S. The clarification came from White House National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, during a press briefing. While Kirby acknowledged that the funds remain untouched by Iran, he did not confirm if there was an official halt on the funds.

Journalists sought clarity on whether the U.S. had restricted Iran’s access to the funds or if Iran had simply chosen not to access them. Kirby refrained from discussing any potential policy shifts related to the funds that might have occurred “within the past 24 hours.”

The mentioned funds, owned by Iran, were previously frozen in South Korean banks and were released in August as part of the prisoner exchange deal. As per the agreement, the funds were to be held by Qatari banks, with Iran permitted to access them solely for humanitarian reasons. However, concerns arose that this could indirectly enable Iran to allocate other resources for terror activities, such as the recent Hamas attack on Israel.

Fox News correspondent, Jacqui Heinrich, further questioned Kirby about the situation of American citizens in Israel. She inquired about the U.S. government’s stance on Americans in Israel, especially when other nations have initiated formal evacuations. Kirby emphasized the individual choices of Americans living abroad, stating, “Americans and dual passport holders live all over the world… We’re not in a position of lecturing to Americans where they can go live, work or travel.” He added that while some Americans might wish to leave, many choose to stay, and their decisions must be respected.

Heinrich also sought information on U.S. preparedness in light of extremist groups designating Friday as a “Day of Jihad.” Kirby assured that the U.S. is enhancing its intelligence sharing with Israel and is in continuous communication with law enforcement agencies nationwide to ensure the safety of Americans. He emphasized the government’s commitment to identifying and countering any threats to U.S. citizens, both domestically and abroad.