The Trump administration is planning to end waivers that allow certain foreign businesses to work at Iranian nuclear facilities, the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.
The waivers, which were included in U.S. sanctions placed on Iran in 2015, allow certain Russian and Chinese companies to conduct business at Iranian nuclear sites. Operations covered by the waivers include the modification of Iran’s Arak heavy water nuclear reactor, procurement of enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor, and the shipment of nuclear waste out of Iran.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will “end the sanctions waiver covering [Iran nuclear deal]-related nuclear projects in Iran,” according to a document obtained by the Post. Pompeo reportedly pushed for an end to the waivers along with a group of Senate Republicans including Tom Cotton of Arkansas.
It is not yet clear if the companies involved in work at Iran’s nuclear sites would cease their involvement in response to the imposition of U.S. sanctions.
President Trump formally withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, in May 2018.
“This was a horrible one-sided deal that should have never, ever been made,” Trump said at the time. “t didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”
Since then, the Trump administration has taken a hard line against Iran’s military activities throughout the Middle East, including in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. In January, the president ordered the killing of top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, after which military tensions between Iran and the U.S. rose throughout the region until the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
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