US removes concessions to foreign companies in Iran. The U.S. has announced that it will remove concessions that exempt some Russian, Chinese and European companies, which are conducting transformation work in nuclear facilities in the country, to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
These privileges included efforts to “transform Iranian nuclear facilities for civilian activities” to make it difficult for Iranian nuclear facilities to be used for weapons development. According to experts, this move by the Trump administration is a new blow to the international nuclear deal with Iran in 2015.
Disarmament experts say that the privileges backed by the European allies of the US aim to rein in Iran’s desire for a higher level of uranium enrichment.
These concessions, which include the conversion of Iran’s Arak heavy water research reactor for civilian use, the supply of enriched uranium for the Tehran Research Reactor, and the transfer of spent reactor fuel abroad, expire on July 27.
Companies will be given 60 days
Trump administration, which will be given 60 days to the companies , was of the opinion that some parts of the agreement were useful, even though it withdrew the United States two years ago from a nuclear deal with the Joint Comprehensive Action Plan (JCPoA) with Iran in 2015. These included the conversion of Iran’s Arak heavy water research reactor to prevent it from developing weapons using plutonium.
The time allowed for the companies involved in these projects to stop their activities will be 60 days. Companies that continue to operate after this period will be subject to US sanctions.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Washington may extend 90 days for security purposes, if foreigners working at the nuclear power plant established by Russia in the city of Bushehr, Iran.
The decision is considered to be part of Washington’s policy of applying maximum pressure to Iran after withdrawing from the international nuclear agreement signed with Iran in 2015. The agreement, made during the period of former president Barack Obama, included easing economic sanctions against Iran in exchange for curtailing its nuclear program.
” Iran will either negotiate or deal with its collapsing economy ”
US Iran Special Representative Brian Hook said, “Thanks to our pressures, Iranian leaders have come to the verge of a decision: either they will negotiate with us or they will try to deal with the collapse of their economies.”
Tehran had accelerated its nuclear operations after the USA withdrew from the international nuclear deal and revived the sanctions by preventing Iran’s oil exports. Experts consider Iran’s move as an effort to change the US pressure policy on the country or to strengthen its hand in a possible negotiation.
“The Iranian regime is continuing its risky policy by expanding its sensitive activities on nuclear proliferation,” said US Secretary of State Pompeo, adding that this will lead to increased pressure against Iran.
Pompeo also announced that sanctions were imposed on Iran’s Atomic Energy Authority officials Macit Agha and Emcet Sazgar, who he accused of contributing to the spread of weapons of mass destruction.
“This decision does not affect Iran’s nuclear studies.”
Iran, on the other hand, stated that this move will not affect Iran’s nuclear studies in the face of the removal of the last sanction exemption from the 2015 nuclear agreement.
A spokesman for the Iranian Atomic Energy Authority said in a statement that the Trump administration is “trying to distract the public” with this step and added that such moves of the United States did not put pressure on Iran.
The international nuclear deal banned Iran from producing purified uranium with purity higher than 3.67 percent for 15 years, but allowed Iran to import 20 percent enriched uranium from the Tehran Research Reactor to operate.
According to experts, the end of the concessions that allow fuel for the reactor can cause Tehran to start enriching uranium by 20 percent. Although this rate is not sufficient to produce nuclear weapons, it is considered dangerous because it is higher than Iran’s current uranium enrichment rate.
Experts also warn that the Iranian Arak reactor may change its intended purpose after foreign firms fail. These companies were working to transform the Arak reactor to be used for civil purposes.
However, officials from the Trump administration say Iran will take years to make such a move and will require money and expertise to the extent it does not.
According to the Washington Post newspaper, Foreign Minister Pompeo began efforts to end concessions in March, but Finance Minister Steven Mnuchin opposed it. Mnuchin had said that the Trump administration had already received a reaction due to sanctions imposed on Iran during the Corona virus outbreak. This caused the concessions to be extended for another 60 days.