Vladimir Putin
Vladimir PutinReuters

Amid the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) disclosure this week that Iran accumulated near weapons-grade enriched uranium for its alleged nuclear weapon program, Fox News Digital reported on Sunday that Iran has allegedly secured secret deals with Russia to guarantee deliveries of uranium.

In what could be a major setback to a new Iran nuclear deal, foreign intelligence sources speaking on the condition of anonymity, and who are familiar with the negotiations between Moscow and Tehran over Iran’s reported illegal nuclear weapons work, told Fox News Digital that Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to return enriched uranium that it received from Iran if a prospective atomic deal collapses.

The State Department would neither confirm nor deny the reports.

"We will not comment on purported secret intelligence reports, but in any event the JCPOA has not been on the agenda for months," a State Department spokesperson told Fox News Digital, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which is the official name of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

A spokesperson for the National Security Council deferred comment to the State Department.

One major component of the effort by the US and other world powers to revive the 2015 deal is for Russia to warehouse Tehran's enriched uranium. The rationale for Russia storing the uranium is to prevent the regime from using the material to construct an atomic bomb.

The foreign intelligence sources claimed, "As part of the agreement between the two countries, Russia has undertaken to return all the enriched uranium to Iran as quickly as possible, if, for any reason, the US withdraws from the agreement."

According to Sunday’s report, the uranium enrichment deal was hammered out during Putin’s visit to Iran in July 2022.

The Intelligence officials said, "President Putin, who made a special trip to Iran to pursue weapons deals between the two countries, agreed to approve the request, apparently due to his interest in compensating the Iranians for their assistance." Talks about the secret deals also unfolded between Moscow and Tehran during August 2022, when Iran’s regime was providing a shot into the arm of Putin’s war machinery in Ukraine.

According to the intelligence officials, the Iranians seized the opportunity during Putin’s desperate need for drones and demanded a "nuclear guarantee" that would enable Iran "to quickly restore its uranium stock to the quantity and enrichment levels it had maintained before the resumption of the agreement."

Sunday’s disclosure comes a day after IAEA chief Rafael Grossi, who visited Tehran following the report of the uranium enriched to near nuclear level, announced that Iran has agreed to reconnect surveillance cameras at several nuclear sites and increase the pace of inspections.

The discovery of the uranium comes as talks between Iran and world powers on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal remain stalled.

Former US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and Iran responded by scaling back its compliance with the agreement.

The Biden administration sought to return to the deal and held indirect talks with Iran on a return to compliance.

Those talks have been stalled since September, when Iran announced it had submitted its comments to the US response to the European Union’s draft for reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. A senior Biden administration official said the Iranian response "is not at all encouraging.”

A US official later said that the efforts to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have “hit a wall” because of Iran's insistence on the closure of the UN nuclear watchdog's investigations.