A US decision to terminate sanctions waivers that have allowed foreign companies to do some work at Iranian nuclear sites will not affect Iran’s nuclear program, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) said on Thursday.
The United States on Wednesday ended sanctions waivers for nuclear cooperation between Iran and the remaining signatories of the landmark nuclear deal, from which the US withdrew in 2018.
The waivers had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out work at Iranian nuclear sites. The role of the foreign firms was agreed on in Iran’s nuclear agreement.
“The ending of waivers for nuclear cooperation under (the nuclear deal) will not in practice have any effect on Iran’s work,” AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. “Of course, America wants its actions to have an effect in line with pressure on Iran, but in practice nothing will happen.”
Pulling the final plug
Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi lashed out at the US for imposing penalties on the other countries for compliance with UN Security Council resolutions and said the desperate US move to end the sanctions waivers pulled the final plug on the nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Russia and the European Union also condemned the US move.
Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova on Thursday criticized the US for undermining international security by deciding to end waivers on Iran sanctions and withdraw from a number of international treaties, including a recent one pertaining to unarmed surveillance flights.
US actions becoming more dangerous
“The nature of this behavior is clearly disruptive,” Zakharova told reporters, adding, “Washington’s actions are becoming more and more dangerous and unpredictable.”
The European Union’s foreign policy chief also on Thursday condemned Washington’s move.
Addressing a UN Security Council meeting, Josep Borrell highlighted the “enduring importance” of the nuclear deal, saying, “The agreement remains the best and only way to ensure the peaceful nature of the Iranian nuclear program.”
Under the 2015 nuclear agreement, Iran agreed to put limits on its peaceful nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. US President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in 2018 and has since reimposed the sanctions. In reaction, Iran has scaled back its commitments under the deal but says it still abides by its overall terms.
The waivers, which officials said expire on July 27, covered the conversion of Iran’s Arak heavy water research reactor, the provision of enriched uranium for its Tehran Research Reactor, and the transfer of spent and scrap reactor fuel abroad.
Waivers that permitted work at the Arak heavy water plant and the Tehran Research Reactor had been in place until now. A waiver for work at the Bushehr nuclear power station will be the only one extended.
Sanctions on nuclear scientists
Also on Wednesday, the US imposed sanctions on two officials with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Majid Agha’i and Amjad Sazgar.
In a series of tweets on Friday, the AEOI condemned the White House decision makers’ move, saying that the decision depicts the “hostile approach” of the US government.
Such moves “will not interrupt the will and determination” of the Iranian nation to achieve the country’s far-reaching objectives, it added.
It warned that such moves will result in further progress of Iranian research and further weakening of Iran’s adversaries in the global arena.
“Good news regarding the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear industry is on the way,” the AEOI added.
Reuters, AP and Press TV contributed to this story.