EghtesadOnline: There are ulterior political motives behind Washington's decision to renew sanctions waivers for Iran’s nuclear programs and the move does not signal a shift in the US approach toward Tehran, lawmakers say.
"Extending the waivers is actually part of a political game," Mohammad Javad Jamali, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, told ICANA.
On July 31, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that the United States will renew sanctions waivers for Iran’s nuclear program, which allow Russia, China and European countries to continue their civilian nuclear cooperation with Tehran, Reuters reported.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in early May extended five of seven sanctions waivers for 90 days, a shorter period than earlier waivers. The waivers allow work at Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, Fordow enrichment facility, Arak nuclear complex and the Tehran Research Reactor, according to Financial Tribune.
The Washington Post said Treasury Department had asked for more time to consider the effects of possible sanctions on Russian, Chinese and European companies, and quoted a senior administration official as saying the goal of ending the waivers remained.
Jamali said renewing the waivers is a "deception" aimed at persuading Tehran to negotiate with Washington, offer concessions and stop reducing its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal.
US President Donald Trump last year abandoned the nuclear agreement, arguing that he wanted a bigger deal that not only limited Iran's nuclear program, but also reined in its regional influence and curbed its ballistic missile program.
Iran scaled back compliance with the accord in response to the US exit and Europe's failure to protect Iran's economic interests.
Lawmaker Mohammad Ali Vakili also maintains that the extension of nuclear waivers demonstrates the US administration's "carrot and stick policy".
"On the one hand, US officials are trying to tighten the noose on Iran using the stick and pressure of sanctions such as economic sanctions and sanctions on Zarif and, on the other hand, renew civilian-nuclear cooperation waivers to avoid criticism by the international community," he told ICANA.
Vakili was referring to sweeping US economic sanctions on Iran and the Trump administration's decision on July 31 to sanction Leader of Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for advancing the agenda of the Iranian establishment.
Wendy Sherman, who served as undersecretary of state under former president, Barack Obama, and was the lead US negotiator for the Iran nuclear agreement, linked the action against Zarif to the sanctions waivers.
"One assumes sanctioning Zarif is the price for those waivers. The internal administration battle of war or diplomacy apparently wages on," Sherman, who is director of the Center for Public Leadership at the Harvard Kennedy School, was quoted as saying by Reuters.
Valiollah Nanvakenari, another parliamentarian, said American officials have proved time and again that they are not trustworthy.
"The United States is not seeking dialogue with Iran so the Americans' words and actions regarding Iran cannot be trusted and cannot serve as a basis for making decisions," he was quoted as saying by ICANA.
"Trump constantly changes his mind on various issues so we cannot count on his words and decisions," Nanvakenari, a member of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, said.