What’s In Biden’s New Nuclear “Not-a-Deal” with Iran?

Despite proclaiming that “rumors about a nuclear deal, interim or otherwise, are false and misleading…” the Biden administration reportedly has indeed been negotiating a limited nuclear and hostage agreement with Iran. Except, in their words, the Biden administration is negotiating an “informal, unwritten agreement” – but definitely not a “deal.”

Much remains unknown about this “not-a-deal” – including why the administration would not want a written agreement to hold Iran accountable, other than to keep the deal’s contents away from Congress and the public – but its basic contours have been disclosed by credible reporters, citing diplomatic sources across the United States, Europe, Israel, and Iran. Some additional details, included in the brief below, also have been confirmed to JINSA by U.S. government officials.

Based on what is known thus far, this “not-a-deal” does not actually require Iran to reduce its nuclear program or breakout timeline in any way. Instead, the Biden administration seems to be offering Tehran somewhere be- tween $7-24 billion cash up front in addition to $2.7 billion already transferred, and hundreds of millions more in ongoing monthly oil revenue, in exchange for Tehran’s unwritten promise not to escalate an already-untenable situation: approaching the nuclear weapons threshold while sending weapons to Russia in support of its aggression against Ukraine. There is also no indication Iran faces any deterrent to, or costs for, violating this one-sided ceasefire.

 Given its denials that there is a deal in the making and its reported determination to keep the agreement unwritten, it is likely that much will remain unknown about this cash-for-hope “not-a-deal,” unless Congress forces the Biden administration to submit it for congressional review as is required under U.S. law.

Click here to read the NatSec Brief.


Gabriel Noronha – Gemunder Center Fellow
Blaise Misztal – Vice President for Policy
Jonathan Ruhe – Director of Foreign Policy