Russian Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov said the US’ decision to end sanctions waivers that had allowed some work to proceed at Iranian nuclear sites will only provoke Tehran into developing nuclear weapons, according to Interfax . Mr Dzhabarov warned the move by the US would trigger Tehran into creating a “nuclear bomb, unequivocally” as tensions reach boiling point.
He said: “The US is pushing them and in the end they are provoking Iran to create a nuclear bomb, unequivocally.”
He said Russia would continue to cooperate with Iran.
The remarks come after the US on Wednesday terminated waivers that allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out work originally designed to make it harder for Iranian nuclear sites to be used for weapons development.
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.
In a statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave no precise justification for the move, which will halt some work originally designed to make it more difficult for Iran to potentially develop fissile material for nuclear bombs.
However, Mr Pompeo said Washington would extend for 90 days a waiver allowing foreign work at a Russian-built nuclear power plant at Bushehr to ensure safety.
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The wider decision seemed aimed at tightening the US “maximum pressure” policy applied since Washington abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal two years ago.
That deal eased economic sanctions on Iran in return for curbs on its nuclear programme.
Tehran almost got into a full-blown conflict with the US when an American drone strike killed top Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on January 3.
US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said: “Because of our pressure, Iran’s leaders are facing a decision – either negotiate with us or manage economic collapse.”
Since the US withdrawal and the revival of American sanctions to cut Iran’s oil exports, Tehran has boosted its nuclear work in what analysts see as an effort to change US policy or increase Iranian leverage in any negotiation.
Mr Pompeo said: “The Iranian regime has continued its nuclear brinkmanship by expanding proliferation sensitive activities,” adding this “will lead to increased pressure on Iran.”