The Trump administration is reportedly planning to renew waivers for Iran to have international teams work on nuclear projects.
Here’s what we know
According to the Washington Post, President Donald Trump sided with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who had argued in favor of the waivers, and overruled national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had both pushed for ending the waivers. The Post’s reporting is based on the testimony of “six administration officials.”
Russia, China, and Europe all currently have firms involved in nuclear projects in Iran. These are separate from Iran’s own nuclear program and its pursuit of nuclear weapons.
This cooperation was permitted under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran Nuclear Deal. Although the U.S. has pulled out of this deal, several other nations including France, Germany, and the United Kingdom have tried to get Iran to continue following the rules set forth in it. Iran, however, bragged earlier this month about passing the stockpile limits of nuclear material that they had agreed to under the terms of this deal.
The waivers are due to expire on Thursday. If the Trump administration were to allow these waivers to run out, it would need to slap sanctions on all countries currently involved in these projects. The administration had already renewed these waivers in both November and May.
Some Republicans in Congress, including Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) have advocated for getting rid of these waivers altogether.