The Biden administration’s negotiations with Iran over a revamped version of the 2015 nuclear deal have hit a dead end, jeopardizing the likelihood of a new agreement, senior U.S. officials informed Congress during a classified briefing.
A deal seemed within reach earlier this month as U.S. officials presented Iran with a proposal that would significantly unwind economic sanctions and provide the regime with somewhere near one trillion dollars over the lifetime of the agreement. Iran, however, balked and negotiations are at a standstill, according to Rep. Darrell Issa (R., Calif.), who participated in the closed-door briefing held two weeks ago for members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
“Two weeks ago, they thought they had a deal, and now they know they don’t have a deal, and are stymied about how they get to a deal because they’ve negotiated all there was to negotiate, and, at the end of the day, Iran doesn’t want the deal that was negotiated,” Issa told the Washington Free Beacon. Those details were also relayed by other congressional sources familiar with the briefing.
Biden administration officials were not optimistic about the prospects for a new deal. Officials told lawmakers, “We’ve negotiated for a year and a half through our good friend and honest broker Russia and we got the same thing that we should have expected, which is, they want a better deal than they had before, and if you don’t give them a better deal, then they don’t want a deal,” according to Issa. “They’re basically on the eve of getting a nuclear weapon and don’t want to be talked out of it.”