US ends waivers for nations in Iran nuclear deal

US ends waivers for nations in Iran nuclear deal


Washington: The United States said on Wednesday that it would end sanctions exemptions for countries that still adhere to the “Iranian Nuclear Agreement”, making the transaction more likely to collapse.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was responding to Iran ’s “brinmanship”, a series of small and provocative nuclear steps in Iran aimed at forcing the United States to lift the sanctions required by the 2015 agreement.

“These escalatory actions are unacceptable and I cannot justify renewing the waiver,” Pompeo said in a statement.

President Donald Trump bolted from the agreement negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama, under which Iran had drastically curbed its nuclear activities.

But the Trump administration has so far issued an exemption allowing companies mainly from Russia to continue the work of the agreement without risking the legal consequences of the world ’s largest economy.

The United States will specifically abolish the immunity, which allows the transformation of Arak ’s heavy water reactor, which prevents it from being used for military purposes and the export of spent reactor fuel.

Pompeo said that the United States is issuing a final 60-day waiver to allow companies involved in the project to end business.

In the past, the Trump administration has tacitly acknowledged the benefits of allowing other countries to continue nuclear agreements.

During the May 2019 extension, the State Council stated that the exemption for Arak will help “prevent it from becoming a weapons-grade p factory.”

But only a few months away from the November US presidential election, some observers believe Trump is eager to cancel the nuclear agreement. It is hoped that if Iran wins for the second time, it will be forced to negotiate a new agreement on his terms.

“Revoking waivers could be the administration negotiating in plain sight with Iran,” said Behnam Ben Taleblu, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which advocates a hard line on Tehran.

“By resetting what Washington will and will not tolerate, it is forcing Tehran to fight for every inch of its  civil  nuclear program in any potential agreement,” he said.

Trump ’s presumptive opponent Joe Biden supported the nuclear agreement and argued with US allies Britain, France and Germany that it had played an effective role in limiting Iran until Trump withdrew and imposed sanctions .

The three European allies, as well as Russia and China, are still in the agreement.

Pompeo recently made a legal argument that the United States remains a participant in a resolution of the UN Security Council seeking to expand the arms embargo on Iran.

In one exceptional case, the United States still waived the exemption for Bushehr, the only oil-rich Iranian nuclear power plant in the country, who has been providing fuel in the country.

Pompeo said that the United States is providing Bush with a 90-day exemption period to “ensure the safety of operations.”

“Our sanctions waiver does not extend to work on any additional units that might be constructed at Bushehr,” said Christopher Ford, the assistant secretary of state for international security and non-proliferation.

“We are not of the view that Iran should be getting any additional nuclear reactors,” Ford told reporters.

Pompey also pointed out the recent comments of Iran ’s top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei while defending the recent move. He said that fighting for “the liberation of Palestine” is “Islamic duty.”

Pompeo accused Khamenei of seeking a new Holocaust, saying: “The regime’s vicious comments will only strengthen the determination of the international community to deal with its threats.”

The Trump administration, which has close ties with regional competitors in Israel and Iran, Saudi Arabia, called the 2015 nuclear agreement a “disaster” and said larger issues are reducing Tehran’s influence in the region.

The Iranian economy is under tremendous pressure from sanctions, and the United States is trying to stop all its oil sales.

Trump also increased military pressure and ordered a drone attack in January, killing one of Iran ’s top generals, Qasem Soleimani.

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