As I discussed in an August 3, 2023 American Greatness article, the Biden administration negotiated a secret, unwritten nuclear deal with Iran last spring that reportedly will provide Tehran with $20 billion in sanctions relief and keep its nuclear program at a level capable of quickly producing weapons-grade nuclear fuel.
A new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency disproves the Biden Administration’s attempts to dismiss the danger of the secret agreement and to falsely portray it as a deal that halted Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.
Iran also reportedly agreed under this deal to cooperate with IAEA investigations of its nuclear program. Iran is allowed to keep its nuclear infrastructure under the agreement, including advanced uranium centrifuges, and is permitted to continue to develop this technology.
Linked to the agreement is a U.S.-Iran prisoner swap under which Iran received $6 billion in sanctions relief in exchange for releasing five innocent Americans imprisoned in Iran. The prisoner swap was widely criticized as the U.S. paying ransom to free Americans held hostage by Iran. The five Americans were released from prison and placed under house arrest in Iran on August 10. Negotiations to allow them to leave the country are continuing.
To circumvent congressional oversight of this dangerous deal, it was negotiated as a set of unwritten “understandings” and the Biden administration has publicly denied its existence.
But at the same time, Biden officials have privately spun the deal to selected reporters as a diplomatic victory by claiming it suspended Iran’s nuclear weapons program because Tehran agreed not to produce weapons-grade uranium.
This week, Biden administration officials attempted to convince reporters that a new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report proves this because Iran is producing less near-weapons-grade 60% enriched uranium due to their diplomatic efforts.
This is a clever distortion of the IAEA report.
First of all, uranium enriched to 60% uranium-235 is only ten days to two weeks away from weapons-grade level enrichment, 90%.
Second, while the report says Iran slightly lowered the production rate of 60% enriched uranium, it also states that the amount increased and Iran’s overall stockpile of enriched uranium at various levels – all of which could be used to make nuclear weapons fuel – also increased since the last IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program issued in May.
Biden officials floated this misleading argument to the Wall Street Journal last month, which ran an article citing unnamed “people briefed on the matter” who falsely claimed that Iran significantly slowed the rate that it was accumulating near weapons-grade uranium.
Fortunately, not every reporter has fallen for the Biden Administration’s spin about its new nuclear deal with Iran. Reuters reported the IAEA concluded that Iran’s stockpile of near-weapons-grade enriched uranium has increased and continues to grow. Reuters also reported that Iran continues to refuse to cooperate with IAEA investigations into two sites where evidence was found of possible covert nuclear weapons work.
The Biden Administration’s misrepresentation of its secret nuclear deal is similar to efforts by NSC official Ben Rhodes in 2015, who used an “echo chamber” to sell the Obama Administration’s nuclear deal with Iran (the JCPOA) to sympathetic reporters.
Obama and Biden officials both attempted to mislead the press about their nuclear deals with Iran as significant accomplishments and tried to hide the severe flaws of these agreements from Congress and the American public.
Both administrations also were determined not to let popular or congressional opposition to these agreements cause them to be reversed or stalled. Both administrations took steps to evade congressional oversight of their nuclear agreements.
In the case of the new secret nuclear deal, Biden officials probably are trying to deflect criticism that could prevent them from providing Iran with the entire $20 billion in sanctions relief it was promised.
This would be a problem for President Biden because the secret nuclear deal appears to have been negotiated to keep tensions with Iran at bay until after the 2024 presidential election. This agreement does not solve or delay the threat from Iran’s advancing nuclear weapons program – it is a short-term deal to placate Tehran until the Biden Administration reopens negotiations with Iran with new concessions in 2025 if Mr. Biden is reelected.
To be clear: despite the new secret Biden nuclear deal which reportedly will give Iran $20 billion in sanctions relief, the IAEA has found that its stockpile of near-weapons grade uranium and other enriched uranium continues to grow. The Biden Administration also agreed to let Iran enrich to the 60% level, a very dangerous concession that will be difficult to walk back. With this concession, the Biden Administration has essentially conceded that Iran will soon become a nuclear weapons state.
This terrible deal can only be described as national security malpractice. It is urgent that Congress on a bipartisan basis fully investigate this agreement and do whatever it takes to reverse it.