Iran rejects ending of nuclear waivers by the United States on Thursday, dismissing the impact of what it called Washington’s “desperate attempt” to end sanction waivers for nations that remain in the Iran nuclear accord.
The Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran said the United States had made the move in a bid “to distract public opinion from its continued defeats at the hands of Iran”.
Ending of waivers will have no impact: Iranian Atomic Agency
“Ending waivers for nuclear cooperation with Iran… has effectively no impact on Iran’s continued work” on what the Islamic republic insists is a purely civilian nuclear energy programme, its spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi added in a statement published on the agency’s website.
The US decision, he said, was in response to Iranian fuel shipments to Venezuela — which is also under US sanctions — and the “significant advancements of Iran’s nuclear industry” thus Iran rejects ending of nuclear waivers.
US to respond to Iranian ‘brinksmanship’: Pompeo
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the United States was responding to Iran’s “brinksmanship” — its scrapping of certain nuclear commitments aimed at pressuring Washington to remove sanctions as called for by the 2015 accord.
— Sara A. Carter (@SaraCarterDC) May 28, 2020
“These escalatory actions are unacceptable and I cannot justify renewing the waiver,” Pompeo said in a statement.
This would effectively entail a reimposition of US-led sanctions on Iran. The United States has repeatedly voiced its concerns on the Iranian nuclear program. Chief among its allies who echoed the same concern was Iran’s arch-rival and regional enemy Israel.
Ending of waivers ‘final plug’ on deal: Iranian envoy
Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations said that with the move, Pompeo was pulling the “final plug” on the nuclear deal after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from it in 2018.
“Claiming US is STILL ‘Participant’ is not just preposterous; it’s FALSE,” the envoy Majid Takht Ravanchi tweeted.
Two yrs ago @realDonaldTrump ceased participation in #JCPOA. Now, in further violation of JCPOA & UNSCR 2231 @SecPompeo pulls final plug, imposing penalties for compliance EVEN w/nuclear provisions of 2231.
Claiming US is STILL “Participant” is not just preposterous; it’s FALSE.
— Majid Takht Ravanchi (@TakhtRavanchi) May 28, 2020
He was referring to Washington’s claim that it remains a participant in the deal, despite renouncing it, and can push to extend an arms embargo on Iran that is due to begin expiring in October.
The remaining parties to the deal known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, include Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia.
The decision may end any hopes for salvaging a nuclear deal from Iran.
JCPOA in danger
The decision seemed designed to tighten the US “maximum pressure” policy against Tehran since Washington pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal two years ago. That deal had provided Iran with relief from economic sanctions in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Washington had until now issued waivers to allow companies, primarily from Russia, to keep carrying out the nuclear work of the agreement without risking legal ramifications in the US economy.
It will end waivers that allowed the modification of the heavy water reactor in Arak, which prevented it from using plutonium for military use, as well as the export of spent and scrap research reactor fuel.
Sources said the US would provide 60 days to wind down international activities – which were designed to make the Iranian nuclear programme less capable of producing weapons – at the sites.
They also said it would extend for 90 days a waiver allowing international support for the Russian-built nuclear reactor at Bushehr.
Kamalvandi said ending the waivers would not impact Iran’s continued work on the Arak reactor and “other equipment” by Iranian experts.
The JCPOA: Timeline leading to current developments
On July 14th, 2015, Iran and the six powers strike an agreement, under which Iran agreed to take a series of steps, including slashing its number of centrifuges and disabling a key part of its Arak nuclear reactor — in return for significant easing of US, UN and EU sanctions.
The deal is called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Read more: Iran nuclear deal: How to save it?
In 2018, US President Donald Trump announced that he is walking away from the Iran nuclear deal and reimposes crippling sanctions. Trump said the deal did nothing to limit Iran’s ballistic missile program or its regional aggressions.
In May 2019, Iran announced it was suspending nuclear commitments to the deal, starting with removing limits on its heavy water and enriched uranium stockpiles.
It was in retaliation for US sanctions and what Iran deemed Europe’s inaction to provide it with the JCPOA’s economic benefits.
AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk