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EghtesadOnline: The US administration's decision to no longer waive sanctions related to the Fordow nuclear facility is not a source of concern for Iran, a political analyst says.

"Given the extensive sanctions imposed by the United States, Iran is practically not worried about the termination of nuclear sanctions waivers at Fordow or any other facility," Rahman Qahremanpour told ISNA in a recent interview. 

The United States said on November 18 that it will no longer waive sanctions for civilian nuclear projects at Fordow after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the underground site.

Iran had said earlier in early November that it was again enriching uranium at the site, and the UN atomic watchdog confirmed the development, according to Financial Tribune.

The move was part of a package of measures announced by Iran in response to the sweeping unilateral sanctions reimposed by Washington since it quit the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers—officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action—last year. 

The pact requires Tehran to restrain its enrichment program in exchange for the removal of most international sanctions, and it called for Fordow to be converted into a nuclear, physics and technology center. 

Despite its withdrawal, the Trump administration has granted sanctions waivers that allowed foreign firms to carry out civilian nuclear projects in Iran. Those included Russia's Rosatom at Fordow. 

According to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the waivers will end on December 15. The State Department said in October that it had renewed waivers for 90 days. 


‘No Coincidence’

Qahremanpour said it was not a coincidence that the announcement about nuclear waivers was made by the US top diplomat on the same day that he announced a new decision on Israeli settlements. 

He was referring to the fact that the US effectively backed Israel's right to build settlements in the occupied West Bank by abandoning its four-decade-old position that they were "inconsistent with international law."

The expert said the timing of the announcements shows that stepping up pressure on Iran and ensuring Israeli security are high on the White House's agenda and, as some observers say, are being pursued in parallel. 


Russian Response 

On Russia's response to the US decision about Fordow, he said, "It seems Iran's nuclear issue is tied to regional developments, particularly in Syria, from the Russian perspective."

The Russian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the US decision to drop sanctions waivers related to the Fordow nuclear facility and said it believes the decision violates US international commitments. 

It also said Moscow is continuing its close cooperation with Iran on the Fordow reconfiguration.

Qahremanpour says Russia has increased its role in the region through cooperation with Iran to improve the situation in war-torn Syria. 

"So I believe Russia will provide stronger support to Iran compared to [the past] when it comes to both nuclear and regional issues. However, Russia will definitely not get into a serious confrontation with the United States over Iran."  


End Iran sanctions Sanctions Waivers Concerned Fordow nuclear facility