US State Department

US to extend four sanctions waivers on Iran nuclear program

Bloomberg – The Trump administration will extend sanctions waivers allowing limited work on Iran’s civil nuclear program for another 60 days, two people familiar with the matter said.

At the same time, the administration will announce sanctions on the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and its chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, according to the people, who asked not to be identified discussing a decision that hasn’t been publicly announced.

The decision to extend the waivers follows an internal disagreement between Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, who had advocated ending the waivers, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who wanted them extended.

The sanctions are meant to punish Iran for what the U.S. says is Tehran’s recent nuclear proliferation efforts, one of the people said.

Iran had earlier announced it would no longer be bound by uranium enrichment limits imposed by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the nuclear deal President Donald Trump quit in 2018.

Trump has since imposed a raft of sanctions on Iran’s economy but had held off ending the four waivers that allowed other participants in the deal, including China, Russia and the U.K., to cooperate on limited nonproliferation work with Iran.

The decision to extend the waivers for now avoids a confrontation with European nations who argue that the nonproliferation work allows them and the U.S. to keep an eye on Iran’s nuclear program.