June 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Denies Reports of Cash Offers to Iran for Limited Enrichment Concessions

June 9, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Denies Reports of Cash Offers to Iran for Limited Enrichment Concessions

Latest Developments

Multiple reports this week suggest the United States is offering financial incentives to the Islamic Republic of Iran in exchange for Tehran slowing its production of enriched uranium. On June 7, Haaretz reported that the United States was offering to release $20 billion in frozen Iranian funds — currently held by South Korea, Iraq, and the International Monetary Fund — in exchange for Iran limiting further production of high-enriched uranium.

Another report on June 8 by Middle East Eye (MEE) echoed much of Haaretz’s reporting but added that the administration would allow Iran to export an additional one million barrels of oil per day, which would likely require the president to issue a national security waiver. The National Security Council called the MEE report “false and misleading.” However, questions remain about whether an agreement may proceed without official text or notification to Congress, as required under existing law.

Expert Analysis

“The Biden administration hopes that Tehran will be more amenable to a ‘longer and stronger’ deal after getting major nuclear and economic concessions in exchange for a ‘shorter and weaker’ arrangement. This is an illusion. Iranian leaders understand power and leverage better than President Biden and his team do. The emerging ‘less for more’ deal is the worst deal of all.” Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“The administration may be looking to evade congressional review by trading billions of dollars to Iran in exchange for a temporary halt to higher levels of enrichment, all without a written agreement or public acknowledgment. Paying Iran to sit patiently on the nuclear threshold won’t stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons, but it will subsidize attacks against Americans, Israelis, Ukrainians, and Iranians.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Biden Administration May Sidestep Congress

The Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015 (INARA) requires the president to notify Congress of an agreement or waiver of congressional sanctions on Iran. Congress then has 30 days following notification to review the agreement and potentially vote to reject it.

Given mounting bipartisan political opposition to lifting sanctions on Iran while Tehran provides drones to Russia and cracks down on women and protestors, there is suspicion that the administration is searching for ways to sidestep INARA’s requirements in order to provide economic relief to Iran in exchange for a temporary arrangement on Iran’s enrichment.

Israel Opposes Agreement, Reserves Right to Defend Itself

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone on June 8. According to a statement from the prime minister’s office, Netanyahu told Blinken that Israel’s position remains consistent in that a return to a “nuclear agreement with Iran would not stop the Iranian nuclear program and that no arrangement with Iran will obligate Israel, which will do everything to defend itself.”

Related Analysis

Iran’s Nuclear Violations to Test Resolve of IAEA Board of Governors,” FDD Flash Brief

Biden’s Renewed Push for Iran Deal May Help Russia in Ukraine,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran Needs an Ultimatum, Not a New Deal,” by Richard Goldberg and Andrea Stricker


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran Nuclear Iran Sanctions