(June 27, 2019 / JNS) With Iran’s reportedly set to breach the limit of enriched uranium permitted under the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration withdrew from in May 2018, a debate has heated up in Washington over whether the Trump administration should issue another round of temporary waivers to permit countries part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal to conduct civil nuclear projects with the regime, but with limits as part of the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
The waivers—extended to 90 days, down from the 180 days previously granted—were issued in May and allow the signees to continue conducting nonproliferation work at the Bushehr, Arak and Fordow nuclear facilities.
Ahead of the waivers expected to be reviewed in August, U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton and officials on Capitol Hill have increased pressure on U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo not to renew them.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence and senior administration officials have been briefed on a new essay in Mosaic by Hudson Institute senior fellow and former George W. Bush administration national security official Michael Doran, two people familiar with the briefing told Politico.
When asked by JNS for his reaction to Pence senior administration officials reading his piece, Doran replied, “I don’t really have a reaction, other than that I am gratified to learn that people are reading it.”
In his piece, which Sen. Ted Cruz tweeted is a “crucial analysis,” Doran calls for the end of the waivers that Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said is the “cornerstone of the JCPOA, the structure that provides international cover for Iran’s nuclear-weapons program.”
“Historically, Khamenei has always valued the preservation of this program over any practical economic considerations,” continued Doran. “Although some have suggested that the economic sanctions now imposed by the administration will be severe enough to force him, eventually, to rethink his priorities, it’s worth bearing in mind just how much he has been willing to sacrifice for them in the past.”
Last month, U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) sparred with Andrea Thompson, the U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, over the nuclear waivers.