U.S. to end sanctions waivers allowing some work at Iran nuclear sites
By Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Wednesday it will terminate sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to continue work aimed at making at Iranian nuclear sites less prone to be used to develop weapons. The waivers, which will expire after 60 days, had 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, U.S
By Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States said on Wednesday it will terminate sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European companies to continue work aimed at making at Iranian nuclear sites less prone to be used to develop weapons.
The waivers, which will expire after 60 days, had 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, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not justify his decision, which will halt some work designed to make it more difficult for Iran to potentially develop fissile material for nuclear bombs.
The decision seemed aimed at tightening the U.S. "maximum pressure" policy applied since Washington abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal two years ago. That deal gave Tehran economic sanctions relief in return for curbs on its nuclear program.
After the withdrawal and the revival of U.S. sanctions to cut Iran's oil exports, Tehran has boosted its nuclear work in what analysts see as an effort to change U.S. policy or to build up Tehran's leverage should they get into negotiations.
"The Iranian regime has continued its nuclear brinkmanship by expanding proliferation sensitive activities," Pompeo said, saying this "will lead to increased pressure on Iran."
However, Pompeo said the United States would extend for 90 days a waiver allowing foreign work at a nuclear power plant built by Russia at Bushehr "to ensure safety of operations."
Alex Vatanka, an analyst at the Washington-based Middle East Institute think tank, said the United States may want to look tough to force Tehran to accept tighter nuclear restrictions or to make it harder for a new U.S. president to revive the 2015 deal. President Donald Trump is up for re-election on Nov. 3.
(Reporting By Arshad Mohammed and Humeyra Pamuk, Editing by Franklin Paul, Marguerita Choy and Sonya Hepinstall)
This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.
By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States
BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.