Biden Admin Reportedly Negotiating Sanctions Relief For Iran Nuclear Program

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Dylan Housman Deputy News Editor
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The Biden administration is reportedly negotiating a potential freeze of elements of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief, according to Axios’ Barak Ravid.

Israeli officials, Western diplomats and American policy experts allegedly told Ravid that the administration has been in talks with its allies in Europe and Israel about a deal, which would be aimed at curbing the advancement of Iran’s nuclear program. Iran has stockpiled 87.5 kilograms of 60% enriched uranium, according to a recent International Atomic Energy Agency report, the Associated Press noted.

If enriched to 90%, that much uranium would be enough to produce a nuclear weapon, Axios reported. Israeli officials have reportedly told counterparts in the United States and Europe that they would consider taking military action if Iran begins enriching uranium above 60%.

The Biden administration proposed its new plan to allies in February, according to Ravid, which would include ending some sanctions if Iran stops uranium enrichment at 60%. Iranian officials are reportedly uninterested in the deal, rejecting any proposal that falls short of a return to the JCPOA, colloquially known as the Iran nuclear deal, reached under the Obama administration.

The Biden administration has repeatedly insisted for months that discussions related to the JCPOA are “not on the agenda” when it comes to dealings with Iran, instead emphasizing other issues like human rights in the country and Iran’s malign influence in neighboring countries like Iraq, as well as the regime’s assistance for Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Then-State Department Spokesman Ned Price said earlier this year that he was not sure how the administration could make it “more clear” that the JCPOA is not currently on the agenda after Republican Texas Sen. Ted Cruz criticized the administration, calling them “obsessed” with returning to the Iran deal.

Cruz harkened back to that exchange Monday in light of Axios’ report, accusing the State Department of lying to members of Congress. (RELATED: Iran Agrees To Stop Arming Houthi Rebels Thanks To China Deal)

The Biden administration has, at various points, expressed interest in returning to mutual compliance with the JCPOA but has accused Iran of undermining the possibility of such a return.