Biden’s Iran Deal Will Bring Tehran Even ‘Closer to the Nuclear Threshold,' Analysis Finds

Tehran could make ‘enough weapons-grade uranium for up to eight nuclear weapons’

Ayatollah Khamenei (Mohammad Sadegh Heydari/Wikimedia Commons)
June 28, 2023

The Biden administration’s latest nuclear deal with Iran could enable the hardline regime to make "up to eight nuclear weapons in three months," according to an analysis released this week.

The agreement, which Biden administration officials are negotiating in secret, will bring Tehran "closer to the nuclear threshold" than ever before, according to a policy analysis published on Wednesday by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD).

"Nothing in the reported arrangement would stop Iran from constructing a new underground nuclear facility that experts fear would make it all but impossible to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons," according to the analysis authored by Richard Goldberg, former director for Countering Iranian Weapons of Mass Destruction at the White House National Security Council, and Behnam Ben Taleblu, a veteran arms control expert.

The findings are likely to further galvanize Republican opponents of a new Iran deal, who are already concerned the Biden administration will violate the law by signing an agreement without first receiving legislative approval. Lawmakers in the Republican-controlled House are already laying the groundwork to subpoena top Biden administration officials over their secret talks with Iran, which are reportedly being held in Oman. Secretary of State Antony Blinken affirmed on Wednesday that the United States is "willing to explore diplomatic paths" with Tehran, and Iranian officials have signaled a similar willingness in recent weeks.

While the contours of the deal remain heavily guarded, details that have leaked into the press indicate the Biden administration is offering Tehran billions of dollars in sanctions relief in exchange for minimal restrictions on Tehran’s contested nuclear program. FDD says Congress should immediately intervene to stop the deal and consider issuing a "temporary restraining order against the Treasury Department" to prevent the sanctions relief.

The Biden administration rumored arrangement "adds insult to injury by capping Iran’s uranium enrichment purity level at 60 percent, which the regime can quickly enrich to weapons-grade, or 90 percent," according to the FDD analysis.

Lawmakers and experts worry the Biden administration will provide Tehran with sanctions relief before presenting Congress with a chance to approve the deal, a move that would violate a 2015 law enacted after the Obama administration circumvented Congress to ink the original accord.

"The release of funds for Iran prior to the Biden administration’s submission of any agreement for congressional review may already entail a violation of" the law, according to Goldberg and Ben Taleblu.

Additionally, "the Biden administration may be violating U.S. law by allowing the [International Monetary Fund] to provide Iran, a designated state sponsor of terrorism, with a multibillion-dollar bailout," according to the analysis.

Congress "should immediately launch an investigation" into the Biden administration’s proposed bailout for Iran and also force top American diplomats to disclose details of the agreement to the American public, the report says. Lawmakers could also "seek injunctive relief" if the Biden administration waives sanctions without first obtaining legislative approval.

Iranian officials, meanwhile, claim that talks surrounding a deal could formally resume in the near future at the Biden administration’s urging.

"Considering the series of messages that have reached us from the United States and European countries [the United Kingdom, Germany, and France], negotiations to revive the JCPOA will probably be resumed soon," Shahriar Heidari, a member of the Iranian parliament’s national security and foreign policy commission, said last month.