The United States announced Monday (18 November) it would halt sanctions waivers for Iran’s Fordow plant, likely ending a key component of a landmark nuclear deal after Tehran said it had resumed enrichment activities.
Piling pressure as protests hit Iran, the move is intended to discourage work led by Russia’s state-owned nuclear company Rosatom at the once-secret site, which was supposed to be transformed into a civilian research center under the 2015 agreement.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pointed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement of renewed activity at Fordow — one of a series of steps taken by Tehran as it presses Europeans to make good on sanctions relief promised for compliance.
“Therefore the United States will terminate the sanctions waiver related to the nuclear facility at Fordow effective December 15, 2019,” Pompeo told a news conference.
“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero,” Pompeo said.
“There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site. Iran should reverse its activity there immediately,” he said.
President Donald Trump last year withdrew from the denuclearization accord and reimposed sweeping sanctions on Iran, aiming to inflict economic pain and reduce the Shiite clerical regime’s influence in Arab countries.