(March 30, 2020 / JNS) The U.S. State Department announced on Monday it has extended temporary waivers to continue allowing Russian, Chinese and European companies to keep operating at Iranian nuclear facilities, despite U.S. sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.
JNS first reported the extension on Sunday.
“The United States is renewing four restrictions on the Iranian regime’s nuclear program for an additional 60 days. Iran’s continued expansion of nuclear activities is unacceptable,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus in a statement. “The regime’s nuclear extortion is among the greatest threats to international peace and security.”
However, the “restrictions” are actually waivers for firms from countries outside the United States that are party to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal: France, the United Kingdom, China, Russia and Germany.
“As [U.S.] President Trump said earlier this year, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. We will continue to use the full range of our diplomatic and economic tools to constrain Iran’s destabilizing proliferation activities,” said Ortagus in her statement. “We will continue to closely monitor all developments in Iran’s nuclear program and can adjust these restrictions at any time.”
The United States has continuously extended the civilian nuclear waivers under the 2015 nuclear deal since withdrawing from it in May 2018. The government has reimposed sanctions lifted under it, along with enacting new financial penalties against the regime as part of what the administration has called a “maximum pressure” campaign.
The deadline to extend the waivers, which had lasted 60 days, was Monday. They affect the Arak and Bushehr facilities, and the Tehran Research Reactor, where the fuel is provided by Russia, which also removes the facility’s spent fuel after it’s used in the reactor.
The nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers has allowed Tehran to continue its nuclear program within certain limits in exchange for lifting of economic sanctions.
An internal Trump administration battle between U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had apparently occurred over whether to renew the waivers, with the former in favor and the latter against, three sources familiar with the situation previously told JNS.
Republicans on Capitol Hill, including Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.), have previously objected to waivers being extended and are likely do so again.
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