On Wednesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States would cancel sanctions exemptions after a 60-day notice period, which would allow foreign companies involved in Iran's nuclear projects to halt operations. Pompeo said: “I am announcing the end of the sanctions waiver that covers all remaining JCPOA nuclear projects in Iran – the conversion of the Arak reactor, the provision of enriched uranium for the Tehran research reactor and the export of the scrap and Iran's fuel expense. "
The US Secretary of State also announced that the US would make an exception to the cancellations related to the Bushehr Nuclear Unit, operated by Russia 1.
However, this specific waiver extension would only last 90 days.
Yesterday, the decision generated several responses from Russia, including Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Zakharova said: "These new steps in the United States and their damage have yet to be assessed," according to the Russian news agency TASS.
But she added that while the end of sanctions waivers may delay the implementation of "reconfiguration" projects in Iran – according to the 2015 nuclear deal agreements – they will "by no means" prevent them.
TASS also reports that Zakharova accused the United States of being unable to handle complex tasks.
The U.S. controversially left the 2015 Joint Joint Action Plan (JCPOA) – also known as the nuclear deal with Iran – in 2018, under the Trump administration.
The JCPOA was an agreement signed between Iran and the USA, Britain, Germany, France, China and Russia.
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Yesterday, he accused the United States of "provoking Iran to create a nuclear bomb", according to Reuters.
The agency said the resignations allowed foreign companies from Russia, China and Europe to carry out work on Iran's nuclear facilities, which would make it more difficult for sites to participate in weapons development.
But Mike Pompeo said Iran was "expanding proliferation-sensitive activities" and said it was the basis for canceling the exemptions.
He said: "These escalation actions are unacceptable and, as a result, I cannot justify renewing the waiver of these activities related to JCPOA".
Pompeo added that "Iran's nuclear personnel need to make a choice – work for Iranian proliferation organizations and risk being sanctioned or putting their skills to work for the Iranian people in activities outside the proliferation field".
Pompeo did not include in the declaration an example of the sensitive activities that Iran was carrying out.
In other news, the third of five Iranian oil tankers that transport gasoline to Venezuela's fuel-hungry nation arrived yesterday, according to the Middle East Monitor.
The remittance raised fears of a confrontation between the U.S. and Iran, as the move apparently runs counter to US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran.