Pompeo Says US Ending Sanctions Waivers on Iran’s Fordow Nuclear Site

'No legitimate reason' for Iran to enrich uranium

Fresh off of his hugely controversial announcement on Israel’s settlements, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo took another stab at picking fights with Iran Monday, announcing that the US will not offer any sanctions waivers in the future for actions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear site.

It isn’t clear the US sanctions waivers operate on a site-by-site basis in the first place, and rather allow the P5+1 nations to offer services for Iran’s civilian nuclear program. One Russian company is operating out of Fordow, and while US sanctions waivers technically cover that, it’s not clear Russia would insist on them getting US permission for such actions. 

Fordow has largely been inoperative in recent years, though Iran brought it back on line recently as part of its effort to secure a negotiation of sanctions relief with remaining nuclear deal parties. Fordow is purely an underground uranium enrichment site.

Pompeo addressed that, saying there is “no legitimate reason” for Iran to enrich uranium under any circumstances. This is demonstrably untrue, as Iran is enriching uranium to fuel Russian-built nuclear power plants for civilian purposes.

Pompeo’s claim Iran can have no enrichment is just a continuation of the US trying to escalate tensions with Iran by further tightening its demands on them, though since the US isn’t a party to the Iran deal any longer anyhow, their view of Iran’s enrichment is largely immaterial as a practical matter.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for Antiwar.com. He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.