The administration of US President Donald Trump has imposed sanctions on Iran’s export of enriched uranium but at the same time renewed three key waivers that will allow European allies, Russia and China to cooperate with the Islamic Republic on civil nuclear program.
“Any involvement in transferring enriched uranium out of Iran in exchange for natural uranium will now be exposed to sanctions. The United States has been clear that Iran must stop all proliferation-sensitive activities, including uranium enrichment, and we will not accept actions that support the continuation of such enrichment,” the State Department announced in statement issued on Friday.
Under Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Tehran is limited to keeping 300 kilograms of uranium enriched up to 3.67 percent. As part of the JCPOA, Iran is allowed to sell any enriched uranium above that threshold on international markets in exchange for natural uranium, with Russia a key player.
The waivers, due to expire Saturday, are extended for 90 days, the State Department statement added.
The waiver extensions pertain to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, the Fordow enrichment facility, the Arak nuclear complex and the Tehran Research Reactor, a senior US official said, on condition of anonymity.
On May 8, 2018, Trump announced that he would abandon the JCPOA, reached between Iran and six world powers – the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany.
Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit parts of its peaceful nuclear program in exchange for the removal of all nuclear-related sanctions.
In August, Trump ordered all nuclear-related sanctions that were removed under the deal to be reinstated immediately.
The new decision comes after the Trump administration took other steps to crack down on Iran. Trump said in a statement on April 22 that, in a bid to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero, buyers of Iranian oil must stop purchases by May 1 or face sanctions.
The move ended six months of waivers, which allowed Iran’s eight biggest buyers — Turkey, China, Greece, India, Italy, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan — to continue importing limited volumes.