Biden Administration Waives Sanctions On Iran As Nuclear Deal Deadline Looms

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The Biden Administration has waived sanctions on Iran’s civilian nuclear program in a last-ditch effort to bring Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal, reversing the Trump administration’s decision to rescind it.

The move will allow foreign countries and companies from Russia, China and Europe to cooperate with Iran in assisting the non-military parts of Iran’s nuclear program under the terms of the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, according to The Times Of Israel.

The 2015 nuclear deal eased economic sanctions on Iran while placing restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. Former President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018 and reimposed sanctions, arguing that they gave Iran a pathway to developing the bomb, The Times Of Israel reported. The Trump administration kept the sanctions waiver in place until May of 2020, calling them a necessity to maintain oversight over Iran’s nuclear program and help reduce proliferation risks, according to NBC News. (RELATED: TEARS IN TEHRAN: Trump Pulls US Out Of Iran Nuclear Deal)


Though Iran claims it has no plans to build a nuclear bomb, it has continually exceeded the parameters set by the nuclear deal for its nuclear activity, causing some to fear that Tehran could soon have enough fissile material for an atomic bomb, NBC News said. (RELATED: Iran Ends Nuclear Deal Commitment, Will No Longer Limit Uranium Enrichment)

Calling it a “return to the status quo,” a senior State Department official denied that waiving sanctions was a concession to Iran, according to NBC News. Instead, the sanctions waiver “is designed to facilitate discussions that would help to close a deal on a mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA and lay the groundwork for Iran’s return to performance of its JCPOA commitments” as well as “constrain Iran’s nuclear activities,” the State Department said in its report to Congress.

“We are issuing the waiver now for a simple reason: it will enable some of our international partners to have more detailed technical discussions to enable cooperation that we view as being in our non-proliferation interests,” the State Department official said according to Fox News.

Behnam Ben Taleblu from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) told CNN that “issuing waivers to permit civil nuclear cooperation with Iran at a time when Iran is violating the JCPOA is a strategic mistake.” (RELATED: H.R. McMaster Says It Would Be A ‘Big Mistake’ To Redo Iran Nuclear Deal)
Democratic New Jersey Sen. Bob Menendez also expressed concern about returning to the JCPOA stating, “While the deal the U.S. and our partners are pursuing in Vienna would ostensibly seek to reverse technological advancements, the acquisition of knowledge is never reversible,” he said, according to NBC News. “At this point, we seriously have to ask, ‘What exactly are we trying to salvage?'”