US eases some sanctions on Iran to save nuclear deal

Washington, Feb 4 (EFE).- The United States Friday eased some sanctions on the Iranian atomic program to salvage the stalled 2015 nuclear deal that hangs amid the crucial final phase of negotiations in the Austrian capital.

A senior State Department official told EFE that the decision to “restore a sanctions waiver” would allow “the participation of third parties in non-proliferation projects in Iran.”

The waiver means that other countries and foreign companies can now work on Iranian civilian atomic projects at the Arak heavy water plant, the Tehran Research Reactor, and the Bushehr nuclear power station.

The official, who spoke on anonymity, said detailed technical discussions by international negotiators to enable Iranian cooperation in our non-proliferation interests were impossible without the sanctions waivers.

The official said the administration of then-President Donald Trump had given similar sanctions waiver for years even after withdrawing the US from the multilateral nuclear agreement in 2018.

The Trump administration removed the waivers to sanctions in May 2020.

By restoring the waiver, Washington was simply “returning to the status quo,” the official said. “This is not a concession to Iran.”

The official stressed it the waiver would serve American non-proliferation and nuclear safety interests.

He said it was part of a policy discretion in the backdrop of such objectives and not under any “quid pro quo.”

The official noted it also did not signal that international negotiators had reached an agreement or were about to in the eighth round of talks to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal.

The talks involve Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Russia, China, and Iran, which remain in the nuclear pact, formally called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The US is not attending the negotiations directly.

However, its officials are indirectly talking to Iran to have the US return to the agreement and Iran resume compliance.

“The technical discussions facilitated by the waiver are necessary in the final weeks of JCPOA talks, and the waiver itself would be essential to ensuring the swift compliance by Iran with its nuclear commitments,” the official said. EFE


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