By | Rachel Brooks
Staff | Telegraph Local
Above, Mike Pompeo made a press appearance within the past few days, U.S. Department of State.
The Trump administration is poised to eliminate nuclear waivers tied to the Iran deal of the Obama administration era. This was initially reported by Axios. Essentially, this means that the U.S. will end waivers that allowed foreign companies to work at Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities. Axios cited an announcement made by Mike Pompeo on Wednesday.
“Today, I am ending the sanctions waiver for JCPOA-related projects in Iran, effective in 60 days. Iran’s continued nuclear escalation makes clear this cooperation must end. Further attempts at nuclear extortion will only bring greater pressure on the regime.
I am also sanctioning two leaders of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program – Majid Agha’i and Amjad Sazgar. Iran’s scientists need to make a choice: pursue peaceful work outside of the proliferation realm, or risk being sanctioned,” said Secretary Pompeo in a pair of tweets that were both posted at 2:49 pm on May 27.
Axios reports that since Trump withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action commonly called JCPOA that was reached between Iran and the Obama administration in 2015 he has “piled on” sanctions. Pompeo has since stated that “continued nuclear escalation” had prompted the move.
On the other side of the argument, Axios reported that Benham Ben Taleblu of the Foundation for the Defense Democracies believes the administration sends a message that will escalate tensions. Talebly stated that the administration sends messages strongly inferring that Iran’s nuclear program is illegitimate.
Stars and Stripes reported that the decision to end the nuclear waivers is a significant blow to Iran’s nuclear program. Stars and Stripes also states that the motion ends allowances for Russia, China, and European companies to work with the Iranian nuclear sites without any U.S. retaliation. The motion reportedly comes after a conflict between Iran hawks and a more aggressive group within the U.S. government. This was citing documents that were obtained by The Washington Post.
The decision to end the waivers has come with some criticism from interested organizations. One critic is the director of Nonproliferation Policy at the Arms Control Association.
“Ending waivers that allow Tehran to import fuel for the reactor hands Iran a justification to resume enriching uranium to 20%, a level that is below weapons grade, but poses a more significant proliferation risk than Iran’s current enrichment of less than 5%,” said Director Kelsey Davenport, as she was quoted by Stars and Stripes.
Times of Israel reports that the U.S. will revoke all but one exemption. The U.S. accused Iran of continued “nuclear brinkmanship” and “extortion” as the decision to end the JCPOA waivers was reached. Times of Israel cites Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the source of these statements.
“The Iranian regime has continued its nuclear brinkmanship by expanding proliferation-sensitive activities,”said Pompeo in an official statement, as quoted by The Times of Israel.
Likewise, the Times of Israel reports that the nuclear waiver cooperations were renewed in late March. They were due to expire at the end of the month. This has changed. The new revocations will give foreign companies 60 days to terminate programs within Tehran.
This move comes after Pompeo reportedly opposed renewing the waivers at all in March, after the early 2020 chaos between the U.S. and Iran. It remains to be seen what sort of long term impact continued strain on nuclear programs will have on the U.S.-Iran diplomatic relationship.