By: Jake Smith, Daily Caller News Foundation
The Biden administration and a number of world leaders removed reference to Iran from a joint statement condemning the Hamas attacks against Israel, Iran International reported on Wednesday.
President Joe Biden, as well as leaders from France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy all signed a statement pledging to stand with Israel after Hamas launched attacks against the country starting on Saturday, leading to the deaths of over 1,200 Israelis and at least 14 Americans. The initial draft of the statement included a warning to Iran not to escalate the Israel-Hamas conflict further, but that reference was later scrapped from the final draft, according to Iran International.
“Our countries will support Israel in its efforts to defend itself and its people against such atrocities,” the initial draft read, according to Iran International. “We further call on other extremist groups, and any state that may seek to take advantage of such a situation, and in particular Iran, not to seek to exploit this situation for other ends, or to spread the conflict beyond Gaza.”
When the global leaders released their statements hours later, reference to Iran had been removed.
“We further emphasize that this is not a moment for any party hostile to Israel to exploit these attacks to seek advantage,” the new statement read.
U.S. and Israeli intelligence suspect Iran is involved in the Hamas attacks against Israel. Iran has historically backed and funded Hamas, and views it as a proxy to carry out terror operations on its behalf; Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi praised the group’s attacks against Israel and called for more violence against Israelis on Tuesday, according to Iran International.
“Their resistance in this glorious operation is exemplary,” Raisi said on Tuesday. “The determination of the young Palestinians has created a great epic and demonstrated that oppressing a nation, displacing people, and occupying their land may last for a while, but it infuriates the oppressed people, and they are no longer willing to endure the oppression.”
“I hope God helps the fighters (Hamas) in liberating their land,” Raisi said.
The Biden administration cut a deal with Iran in September to transfer $6 billion in previously frozen assets in exchange for five American prisoners. Lawmakers and foreign policy experts fear that the $6 billion, which the administration insists is for “humanitarian purposes,” will free up unrestricted funds in Iran’s reserves and allow them to sponsor future terrorist attacks.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.