The United States will allow Russian, Chinese and European companies to continue operating at Iranian nuclear facilities despite U.S. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, JNS has learned.

Reuters first reported the development on Wednesday.

The United States is issuing waivers on sanctions that prohibit non-American firms from dealing with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, two sources told Reuters, because the continued presence of these firms at Iranian nuclear facilities will make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear weapons in secret.

The 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers allowed it to continue its nuclear program within certain limits in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions.

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in May 2018 and reimposed sanctions, even adding to them.

Nevertheless, he has shown signs that he would like to reach a broader deal with Iran that includes its missile program and support of terrorism in the region.

Republicans on Capitol Hill have already pushed back on the reported renewals.

“This is disappointing and another lost opportunity to tear up the catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal once and for all,” said Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) in a joint statement. “President Trump should immediately order his administration to stop issuing civil nuclear waivers. These waivers allow Iran to build up its nuclear program, including at their Fordow nuclear bunker, which they dug out of the side of a mountain to build nuclear weapons.”

“Iran is now openly violating the nuclear deal and stockpiling dangerous nuclear material. There is no justification for letting them continue to build up their program,” they continued. “We intend to work with our Congressional colleagues to advance legislation to reverse this misguided decision.”

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