US to end sanctions waivers on Iranian nuclear projects

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the end of sanctions waivers on several Iranian civilian nuclear projects, Washington’s latest effort to pressure Tehran.

In a statement on Wednesday, Pompeo said that the measure applied to Iran’s Arak reactor conversion, the provision of enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor, and the export of spent and scrap research reactor fuel, reports Xinhua news agency.

Multiple foreign companies have been working at these civilian projects to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

“The sanctions waiver covering these activities will end following a final, 60-day wind-down period allowing companies and entities involved in these activities to cease their operations,” Pompeo said in the statement.

According to the statement, US President Donald Trump’s administration extended a 90-day waiver covering ongoing international support to the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1, as a means “to ensure safety of operations”.

“We will continue to closely monitor all developments in Iran’s nuclear program and can modify this waiver at any time,” Pompeo added.

Analysts said ending the sanctions waivers is counterproductive.

“Another bad move. Trump and Pompeo are trying to goad Iran into abandoning all nuclear constraints,” tweeted Mark Fitzpatrick, a former Sstate Department official.

The Trump administration withdrew Washington from the Iranian 2015 landmark nuclear deal in 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran.

Tehran, however, dismissed US calls and vowed resistance against the pressures.