Bushehr nuclear power plant
Bushehr nuclear power plant Reuters

Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) was unfazed on Thursday by the US decision to terminate sanctions waivers that have allowed foreign companies to do some work at Iranian nuclear sites, saying the move will not affect Iran’s nuclear program.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday that he will terminate the waivers, which had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out work at Iranian nuclear sites, effective in 60 days.

“Iran’s continued nuclear escalation makes clear this cooperation must end. Further attempts at nuclear extortion will only bring greater pressure on the regime,” he tweeted.

The role of the foreign firms was agreed in Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers in 2015, and was intended to help ensure Iran’s nuclear program would not be used to make weapons.

But AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi dismissed the US move on Thursday, saying, according to Reuters, “The ending of waivers for nuclear cooperation under (the nuclear deal) will not in practice have any effect on Iran’s work. Of course America wants its actions to have an effect in line with pressure on Iran, but in practice nothing will happen.”

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 agreement between Iran and world powers in May of 2018. Since then, his administration has reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic that were frozen as part of the pact.

In response, Iran has gradually scaled back its compliance with the 2015 deal.

In December, the deputy head of Iran’s nuclear agency, Ali Asghar Zarean, said his country would unveil a new generation of domestically made uranium enrichment centrifuges.

The waivers, which officials said expire on July 27, covered the conversion of Iran’s Arak heavy water research reactor, the provision of enriched uranium for its Tehran Research Reactor and the transfer of spent and scrap reactor fuel abroad.

Iran agreed to shut down the reactor at Arak under the 2015 deal. Iran was allowed to produce a limited amount of heavy water and Tehran has been working on redesigning the reactor.

Work on redesigning the Arak reactor is continuing, albeit at a slow pace because of sanctions and problems with carrying out the nuclear deal, Kamalvandi said.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shavuot in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)