September 9, 2022 | Flash Brief

New Iran Deal Would be Shorter, Weaker Version of 2015 Deal

September 9, 2022 | Flash Brief

New Iran Deal Would be Shorter, Weaker Version of 2015 Deal

The new nuclear deal currently under negotiation with Iran would not revive the original 2015 agreement. Instead, this shorter, weaker version would reduce the time Iran needs to produce enough fissile material for one nuclear weapon. Iran would also receive approximately $275 billion of sanctions relief in the first year of the accord and $1 trillion by 2030.

Expert Analysis

“While President Biden promised a longer and stronger nuclear deal, the deal on the table is shorter and weaker. Iran would get more sanctions relief than it did last time, including terrorism sanctions relief, in exchange for fewer concessions, keeping Tehran on the nuclear threshold with more nuclear restrictions expiring soon.” – Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

“The new deal is not worth the enormous cost both in terms of sanctions relief to Iran that would enable its aggression and the damage it would do to the nonproliferation regime. Instead, a sound policy would employ America’s most potent sanctions capabilities to holistically address all threats posed by Tehran, while pressuring the regime to fully cooperate with the IAEA.”
Andrea Stricker, FDD Research Fellow and Deputy Director of FDD’s Nonproliferation and Biodefense Program

A Shorter Deal That Brings Iran Closer to a Nuclear Weapon

According to Presidents Obama and Biden, the original 2015 deal — the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — kept Iran one year away from possessing enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon. The new deal would keep Iran only four to six months away from that target, since it now has many more advanced centrifuges for enriching uranium.

New Deal Would Lift Sanctions Tied to Terrorism and Missiles

As President Obama himself stated, the original JCPOA in no way constrained the United States from imposing sanctions on Iran for its terrorism and ballistic missile development, both of which are advanced by its Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). Yet the new deal would reportedly lift terrorism sanctions on major entities that finance the IRGC, including the Central Bank of Iran. It would also provide sanctions relief to IRGC-connected sectors of Iran’s economy and sectors that finance Tehran’s missile program.

New Deal Would Lift Sanctions on the Office of Iran’s Supreme Leader

The new agreement would reportedly terminate sanctions imposed pursuant to Executive Order (EO) 13876, which authorizes sanctions against Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and any Iranian whom he appoints to office. Khamenei and his appointees are ultimately responsible for decades of Iranian human rights abuses and support for terrorism. For example, under EO 13876, Washington sanctioned IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, who led Iranian forces in Syria and Lebanon in 1983 when Hezbollah, Iran’s leading proxy, bombed the U.S. Marines compound in Beirut, killing 241 U.S. service members.

New Deal Would Lift Key Sanctions Before Congressional Review

The new accord would reportedly lift more than 170 sanctions imposed by three executive orders before Congress has an opportunity to vote on the deal. Rescinding these executive orders may provide Iran with sanctions-free access to at least $30 billion in annual export revenue. In addition, Washington may release $7 billion of frozen funds tied to IRGC financing.

New Deal Would Lift U.S. Arms Embargo on Iran

While a United Nations arms embargo on Iran expired in 2020, the new deal would reportedly include concessions related to a separate U.S. arms embargo still in effect. A 2017 law established this ban with overwhelming bipartisan support.

Related Analysis


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Nuclear Iran Sanctions Nonproliferation Sanctions and Illicit Finance