The United States and Qatar have decided to block $6 billion given to Iran following a deal last month between Washington and Tehran that secured the release of five Americans incarcerated in Iran.

The decision comes in the wake of harsh criticism of the Biden administration over its alleged role in funding the Hamas attack on Israel last Saturday, which is said to have been backed by Iran.

Wally Adeyemo, the deputy Treasury secretary, reportedly told House Democrats that Iran’s access to the funds has been blocked. The deal came with the condition that the funds would be used for humanitarian purposes.

It remains unclear if the money has been permanently frozen, but U.S. officials confirmed that the present arrangement under which the funds were to be spent would be terminated.

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Iran has been backing Hamas for years. However, U.S. officials said they have seen no evidence proving that Iran helped launch the attack.

The U.S. Treasury Department has discussed with Qatar ways to prevent Iran from accessing the funds. The Biden administration did not say if this step was taken after receiving fresh information about Iran’s possible role in the Hamas attack.

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