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The South Korean Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday that $7 billion in Iranian assets, frozen in two South Korean banks due to U.S. sanctions since September 2019, would be released to Iran following “consultations” with the Biden administration.

“Our government has been in talks with Iran about ways to use the frozen assets, and the Iran side has expressed its consent to the proposals we have made.

The actual unfreezing of the assets will be carried out through consultations with related countries, including the United States,” the South Korean Foreign Ministry said. The exact details of the financial transfer were not disclosed.

The Korea Times reported the Foreign Ministry was in talks with Washington last month about unfreezing some of the money to pay Iran’s dues to the United Nations, and possibly to use some of the funds to purchase “humanitarian items such as medicine and medical equipment” from a Swiss organization. 

The Korea Times, i24 News, Yonhap News, and other outlets speculated as to a possible connection between the release of funds and Iran’s kidnapping of a South Korean oil tanker and its crew from the Persian Gulf last month. Iranian officials repeatedly linked the release of the ship and crew to South Korea unfreezing the $7 billion in frozen oil revenue.

“Early this month, Tehran said it would release the sailors, except for the captain, which coincided with Seoul’s confirmation on the progress in the talks with Washington about using the frozen money for the U.N. dues,” Yonhap noted.

i24 described Iran’s seizure of the South Korean tanker as a “massive gamble” that “may have just paid off.” 

The Jerusalem Post called the $7 billion score “another win for Iran” under the new U.S. administration. Tehran has also been “wringing concessions from Europe, as well as the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency],” while simultaneously “using proxies in Iraq and Yemen to attack U.S. partners and allies.”

The Jerusalem Post cited reports that Iran is seeking unspecified “damages” from South Korea for the time its assets were frozen.

Bloomberg News reported on Tuesday that Iran is seeking to unfreeze additional funds held in Japan, Iraq, and Oman.

Iranian state media was far from gracious in reporting the agreement to release Tehran’s funds, quoting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Central Bank of Iran Governor Abdolnaser Hemmati hectoring the South Koreans about their “illegal” policies and complaining the money was not released sooner.

“A year and a half ago, I had talks with South Korean officials, including the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, about this issue, and they promised assistance and cooperation, which unfortunately were not realized,” Hemmati said.

Rouhani and Hemmati repeated Iran’s persistent claims that it only wants the frozen money to buy food and medicine during the coronavirus crisis, a pretense the South Korean government is apparently willing to indulge.

Iran has been spending fabulous sums on developing new weapons, setting up missile launch sites to threaten the Persian Gulf, enriching uranium, and supporting its terrorist proxies in theaters like Yemen and Iraq, squandering billions that could have been spent on humanitarian supplies with the sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

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Purposefully Withholding That Information: Rep. Henry Cuellar Says Biden Admin Isnt Sharing Real Border Numbers

Democratic Texas Rep. Henry Cuellar said Saturday that the Biden administration has not been sharing the real number of unaccompanied children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

Cuellar spoke with Fox News’ Alicia Acuna about the situation at the border, saying the problem may have started under former President Donald Trump, but President Joe Biden needed to own it and work to make changes wherever they were necessary. (RELATED: Latino Democratic Congressman Wants To Help Border Agents Get Vaccinated)


Acuna began by noting the argument over whether the situation at the border should be referred to as a “challenge” or a “crisis,” adding, “My question to you, and I asked this of a Republican congressman in the last hour, does it matter what we call it, and where does the line — where is the line between challenge and crisis?”

“Yeah, look, we can play with words, is it a challenge or is it a crisis,” Cuellar replied. “Let’s look at the numbers. Since August of last year the numbers have been increasing. And especially October, November and December we were hitting 70,000. In January we had 78,000. And this is, again, under the Trump administration, now moving into the Biden administration.”

Cuellar went on to say it did not matter as much who was president when the problem began, adding, “It might have started under Trump, but when you’re the president, you own the situation, whether it’s a success or not a success.”

Predicting an influx of about 100,000 in February, Cuellar continued, “Again, I don’t care what we call it, but I can tell you this — those numbers of people being released, they’re purposefully withholding that information. They’ve been told not to withhold that information. I now know that they’re bringing people from McAllen over to Laredo, processing them in Laredo, and they’re going to release them in my community.”

Cuellar, who had said several days earlier that the United States was just “weeks, maybe even days” from a real crisis at the border, added his concern that the country was “unprepared to handle a surge in migrants” due to the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Our country is currently unprepared to handle a surge in migrants in the middle of this pandemic. I urge the Biden administration to listen and work with the communities on the southern border who are dealing with this influx.

Inaction is not an option.

— Rep. Henry Cuellar (@RepCuellar) March 4, 2021

Cuellar also made a similar point in 2018, saying the child migrant crisis had been downplayed by former President Barack Obama’s administration.

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