Pompeo: US ending sanctions waiver for site where Iran resumed uranium enrichment

Pompeo: US ending sanctions waiver for site where Iran resumed uranium enrichment
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The United States is ending a sanctions waiver for civil-nuclear work at a site where Iran recently announced it was enriching uranium, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoThe Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' Overnight Defense: Trump downplays troops' concussion injuries in Iran attack | Dems offer case against Trump on day two of trial | UN links Saudis to hack of Bezos' phone Pompeo willing to testify in impeachment trial if 'legally required' MORE announced Monday.

“The United States will terminate the sanctions waiver related to the nuclear facility at Fordow effective Dec. 15, 2019,” Pompeo told reporters at the State Department. “The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero. Iran originally constructed Fordow as a fortified underground bunker to conduct secret uranium enrichment work, and there is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site.”

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“Iran should reverse its activity there immediately,” he added.

Pompeo’s announcement comes after Iran announced, and the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed, that it had resumed uranium enrichment at its underground Fordow site in its latest breach of the 2015 nuclear deal.

The deal between Iran and other world powers allowed Fordow, a long-secret facility, to maintain centrifuges for research purposes, but banned enrichment activities there.

Iran has been steadily increasing its violations of the nuclear deal, which President TrumpDonald John TrumpMnuchin knocks Greta Thunberg's activism: Study economics and then 'come back' to us The Hill's Morning Report - House prosecutes Trump as 'lawless,' 'corrupt' What to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial MORE withdrew the United States from in 2018, in an effort to pressure the United States and Europe for sanctions relief. Iranian officials have maintained the violations are reversible should the relief come.

On Monday, Pompeo accused Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei of using “nuclear brinksmanship to extort the international community.”

“The United States rejects this approach completely, and call on all nations to do the same,” Pompeo said. “The only viable way forward is through comprehensive negotiations that address the full range of Iran’s threats in their entirety.”

Though Trump withdrew from the deal and reimposed sanctions that had been lifted under it, the administration granted sanctions waivers to allow Europe, China and Russia to cooperate with Iran on converting nuclear facilities to nonmilitary purposes. In addition to Fordow, the administration granted waivers for projects at Bushehr and Arak.

The administration renewed all three waivers at the end of October.

The administration has argued the waivers were necessary to maintain oversight over Iran’s nuclear work.

But Iran hard-liners in Congress have been increasingly pressuring the administration to revoke the waivers. Sens. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzWhat to watch for on Day 3 of Senate impeachment trial Democrats' impeachment case lands with a thud with GOP — but real audience is voters Restlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on MORE (R-Texas) and Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamRestlessness, light rule-breaking and milk spotted on Senate floor as impeachment trial rolls on Senator-jurors who may not be impartial? Remove them for cause Broad, bipartisan rebuke for proposal to pull troops from Africa MORE (R-S.C.) and Rep. Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Cheney's decision not to run for Senate sparks Speaker chatter Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Apple reportedly dropped plans to let iPhone users encrypt backups | Justices decline facial recognition case | Critics fear Facebook losing misinformation fight | Truce on French tech tax MORE (R-Wyo.) introduced a bill last week to revoke the waivers.

“Iran is exploiting the civil-nuclear waivers from the Obama-Iran deal, which the Trump administration has continued to issue, to build up their nuclear program and buy time until the nuclear deal expires, leaving them with a full-blown unlimited civilian nuclear program,” Cruz said in a statement last week reissued hours before Pompeo’s Monday announcement. “Enough is enough. Now is the time to end the deal once and for all.”