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Wisconsin Watch partners with Gigafact to produce fact briefs — bite-sized fact checks of trending claims. Read our methodology to learn how we check claims.


The U.S. unfroze $6 billion in Iranian funds held in a South Korean bank, but Iran had not received the money when Hamas attacked Israel.

Reuters, Fox News, NBC News and others quoted Biden administration officials saying Iran had not accessed the money.

Wisconsin lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin and Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher, called for refreezing the funds while the U.S. investigates whether Iran played a role in the Oct. 7, 2023, attack.

Under a September deal, five detained U.S. citizens were allowed to leave Iran. The $6 billion was unfrozen, and five Iranians held in the U.S. were allowed to leave.

Iran has long supported Hamas with material and money, according to the U.S. State Department. Foreign policy experts say that includes weapons.

On Oct. 12, a deal was reached to stop Iran from accessing the money in light of the Hamas attack, The Washington Post reported.

This Fact Brief is responsive to conversations such as this one.


New York Times: Here’s a timeline of Saturday’s attacks and Israel’s retaliation.

Reuters: Iran prisoner swap for $6 billion in spotlight after Hamas attacks Israel

Fox News: White House spox pressed on Iran’s $6 billion in unfrozen funds after Hamas unleashes terror in Israel

NBC News: What we know about Iran’s access to the $6B from a U.S. prisoner swap

Sen. Tammy Baldwin: Senator Baldwin Statement on Freezing Iranian Assets

Fox News: Republicans, some Dem House lawmakers urge Biden to refreeze $6B in Iranian assets amid Hamas attacks

CBS News: U.S. clears way for release of $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds as part of prisoner swap deal

U.S. Department of State: Department Press Briefing – October 10, 2023

Washington Post: U.S., Qatar agree to stop Iran from tapping $6 billion fund after Hamas attack

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Tom Kertscher joined as a Wisconsin Watch fact checker in January 2023 and contributes to our collaboration with the The Gigafact Project to fight misinformation online. Kertscher is a former longtime newspaper reporter, including at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, who has worked as a self-employed journalist since 2019. His gigs include contributing writer for Milwaukee Magazine and sports freelancer for The Associated Press.