The Biden administration is offering Iran billions of dollars' worth of frozen assets in an effort to limit Iran’s uranium enrichment efforts and secure the release of American prisoners, the New York Times reported.
In order to convince Iran to halt their enrichment progress at 60 percent, the Biden administration is offering a number of financial concessions. Sources familiar with ongoing negotiations said the United States will likely avoid tightening existing sanctions, unfreeze billions in frozen Iranian assets, and cease seizing Iranian oil tankers.
Iran is currently refining 60 percent pure uranium, and has been progressing toward the 90 percent conventionally used in nuclear weapons. America’s regional allies, particularly Israel, have long seen the proliferation of nuclear weapons in Iran as a grave threat to their national security. In 2005, the president of Iran said that Israel should be "wiped off the map."
The United States, along with other Western nations, imposed further economic sanctions against Iran earlier this year following reports that the Islamic Republic was violently repressing, and in some cases executing, anti-government protesters.
Although the potentially unfrozen assets will reportedly be restricted to funding humanitarian efforts, similar moves in the past have prompted concerns that the cash windfall could subsidize Iran’s global terrorism network. The Obama administration admitted during discussions of the 2015 nuclear deal that it was "nearly certain" Iran would use unfrozen assets to fund terrorism.
Iran has repeatedly breached provisions of the 2015 nuclear agreement. United Nations nuclear weapons inspectors in 2020 found that Iran had obtained uranium enrichment equipment in excess of the amount specified in the deal.
Israeli officials told the Times that the potential deal is concerning, as it could boost Iran’s economy without providing sufficient guardrails to prevent them from developing nuclear weapons.