The Iran Project

Why lifting exemptions for US sanctions on Fordow angered Moscow?

IRNA – The US recently announced the lifting of suspended exemptions on Iran’s Fordow nuclear site which angered Russia and the Russian foreign ministry in an official statement voiced its dissatisfaction with Washington’s decision.

The Russian foreign ministry described the move by Washington another blow to the nuclear non-proliferation regime.

Washington will lift the exemptions to Iran’s nuclear cooperation with other countries at the Fordow nuclear site, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters a few days ago.

Given the announcement by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the resumption of enrichment activities at the Fordow nuclear site, therefore the United States will lift the sanctions exemption on Fordow’s nuclear facilities and this decision will take effect as of December 15, the US official noted.

Head of Russia’s Center for Security and Energy Anton Khlopkov called the resumption of the US sanctions on the Fordow nuclear site another action against the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which once again clearly demonstrates US’ violation of commitment and violations of international law.

Speaking to IRNA, Khlopkov, who is one of Russia’s leading nuclear experts, noted that the United States has implemented a variety of measures against the JCPOA over the past year and a half which contradicts Security Council Resolution 2231, while Washington itself is an inventor of that resolution, and in particular the JCPOA.

The head of the Russian Center for Security and Energy believes the US move to lift the sanctions relief on Fordow’s site will not be the last counter-offensive by Washington, and said, “We must wait for further action by the US.”

Head of the Russian Academy of Geopolitical Studies Leonid Ivashov, another Russian nuclear expert, also believes that lifting the exemption of sanctions on Fordow is a step that the United States has taken not only against the JCPOA but also against the nonproliferation regime.

He noted that the US does not respect international laws and treaties, and with the start of sanctions against Fordow, it is breaching the NPT.

According to Ivashov, a changeover plan to produce sustainable isotopes is being implemented at Fordow’s site, and the United States is in fact seeking to hit the trend.

On the Fordow site, several projects other than uranium enrichment operations are being implemented, including the National Vacuum Center, the Material Control and Standardization Center and the Sustainable Isotope Production Center.

Changing the use of the Fordow site to produce stable isotopes is one of the projects being implemented in the framework of the JCPOA, and Russia has undertaken the project.

Russian officials had earlier stated that the project would not be free and that Moscow was looking at it commercially.

In an interview with IRNA, Boris Dolgov, an expert at the Russian Institute of Oriental Studies, said Russia hopes to contribute to converting the Fordow site to a Center for Nuclear and Physics Research and the design of stable isotopes.

According to the Russian expert, the new US decision on the Fordow site makes it difficult for Russia to participate in the project and gaining money, which may be one of the causes of Moscow’s discontent with US action against Fordow, in addition to what Russia has stated in its statement.

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