FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flies in front of the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, Austria, July 1
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States will announce this Washington Post said Tuesday it will extend the lifting of sanctions for five Iranian nuclear programs, which will allow Russia, China and European countries to continue civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran.
President Donald Trump sided with Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin at a meeting of the Oval Office last week, pleading to renew the exemption from objections raised by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton.
Mnuchin argued to Trump that the United States would have to sanction Russian, Chinese and European companies involved in Iranian projects established as part of it if the sanctions were not repealed as required by law in the 2015 Nuclear Agreement "Said the post, citing six unnamed officials.
A State Department spokesman declined to comment on Reuters.
Pompeo extended five of seven sanctions reversals by 90 days in May. The exemptions allow for work at the Iranian Bushehr nuclear power plant, the Fordow enrichment plant, the Arak nuclear power plant and the Tehran research reactor.
Trump quoted the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and six world powers last year on the grounds that he wanted a larger deal that would not only limit Iranian nuclear work but also support for representatives in Syria, Iraq, Iraq Restricting Yemen and Lebanon stifled its ballistic missile program. Trump tightened sanctions on Iran in May to try to stifle its oil exports.
The Post reported that the Treasury needed more time to examine the impact of potential sanctions on Russian, Chinese and European companies, citing a high-level administrative official as saying that the goal of terminating the derogations continued.
"These exemptions may be revoked at any time if developments in Iran justify it. Based on the legitimate concerns of the Ministry of Finance, we have decided to expand them for the time being, "said the Post official.
Fears of a direct US-Iranian conflict have increased since May. Several attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, the overthrow of a US surveillance drone by Iran and a plan for US air strikes on Iran last month, which Trump had broken off last minute.
Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Letter from Mohammad Zargham; Edited by Leslie Adler