June 1, 2023 | Flash Brief

Biden’s Renewed Push for Iran Deal May Help Russia in Ukraine

June 1, 2023 | Flash Brief

Biden’s Renewed Push for Iran Deal May Help Russia in Ukraine

Latest Developments

The Biden administration appears to have renewed its push for an interim nuclear deal with Iran that would secure partial concessions on Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, according to a flurry of reports this week. Such an agreement could provide Tehran with billions of dollars to help subsidize its sponsorship of terrorism, military support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, ongoing crackdown on women, and suppression of the enduring nationwide protest movement. Russia used Iranian-made drones and munitions to barrage Ukraine this past weekend, prompting Ukraine to enact sanctions against Tehran.

Expert Analysis

“Any ‘less for less’ deal is actually ‘less for more,’ with the regime in Iran giving up few nuclear concessions in exchange for billions in economic relief, minimal ongoing sanctions enforcement, the retention of most of its nuclear weapons infrastructure, and the avoidance of open IAEA investigations into Iran’s nuclear weapons activities. As deeply flawed as the JCPOA was back in 2015, this deal would be the worst deal of all.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The administration will face strong headwinds for any deal that lets Iran sit on the nuclear threshold while collecting billions to finance terrorism against Americans, terrorism against Ukrainians, and terrorism against Iranian women.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

A New Deal Would Unwisely Benefit Iran

While the contours of a prospective interim deal remain unclear, reports indicate that Washington is considering an arrangement that would release, in exchange for limited nuclear concessions, some $7 billion in Iranian funds frozen in South Korea due to U.S. sanctions. Yet any partial U.S. concessions on Iran’s nuclear program could serve as a baseline in any future negotiations for a permanent final deal. Tehran could thus pocket concessions without fully addressing international concerns over its nuclear program. Likewise, even if Iran violated the deal, it would keep the money now held in South Korea. Tehran could therefore strengthen its military support to Russia and other malign activities without consequences.

Iran’s Munitions Continue to Barrage Ukraine

Iran’s provision to Russia of suicide drones and desperately needed artillery shells and ammunition has helped prolong and bolster Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Russia launched the drones — the most common being the Shahed-136 and the Shahed-131 — toward predetermined civilian and military targets inside Ukraine. In April, The Wall Street Journal reported that Russian cargo ships carried more than 300,000 artillery shells and a million rounds of ammunition from Iran through the Caspian Sea.

Ukrainian officials reported on May 28 that Russia launched its largest drone attack against Kyiv overnight, with the Ukrainian military claiming its air and missile defenses shot down 52 of 54 launched drones. The barrage prompted Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to propose a sanctions bill against Iran that the Ukrainian parliament passed on May 29. The bill placed sanctions on Iran for 50 years, including a complete ban on bilateral trade, investments, and transferring technologies. The bill also bars Iranian transit across Ukrainian territory and airspace.

Europe Pushes Iran Deal at Ukraine’s Expense,” FDD Flash Brief

WAR IN UKRAINE UPDATE: Battle for Bakhmut Continues; Iran Helps Russia,” by John Hardie

Iran Begins Trials of Two Female Journalists,” FDD Flash Brief


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