A new nuclear deal will create a “sanctions evasion hub for Vladimir Putin based in Iran,” according to a new policy brief circulating around Capitol Hill and obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.
With a nuclear deal likely to be announced in the coming days, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a think tank critical of the agreement, says a new deal will allow Putin to circumvent tough Western sanctions that have been put in place since Russia invaded Ukraine.
“Policymakers should understand why this deal will establish a sanctions evasion hub for Vladimir Putin based in Iran—dramatically undermining international attempts to halt Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and deter further aggression,” according to the document, which FDD has furnished to lawmakers in the House and Senate. “In addition to looking for a sanctions-free channel for trade, Russia might use this opportunity to learn from Iran’s decades of sanctions circumvention expertise and better prepare to offset future financial pressure from the West.”
The policy brief could help derail an agreement before it even goes into effect. Republicans in the House and Senate have already threatened to dismantle the deal and ensure that Iran does not get massive sanctions relief promised by the Biden administration. A majority of Republican leaders in both chambers warn that any deal reached without congressional approval will be dead on arrival. The information about how Russia will be able to use Iran as a hub for its sanctions-busting activities is likely to strengthen Republican opposition, particularly as Moscow wages an unprovoked war in Ukraine that has isolated its economy from the international banking system.
Russia has emerged as one of the major interlocutors in agreement negotiations, along with China, and there are concerns on Capitol Hill that both countries are using the deal to strengthen their nuclear and military trade ties with Iran.