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Iran slams ‘desperate attempt’ by US to ramp up ‘maximum pressure’ campaign by ending sanctions waivers

Iran slams ‘desperate attempt’ by US to ramp up ‘maximum pressure’ campaign by ending sanctions waivers
Tehran has dismissed the Trump administration’s “desperate attempt” to increase pressure on Iran by ending sanctions waivers that had allowed Russian, Chinese and European firms to keep working at civilian Iranian nuclear sites.

Washington will give foreign governments 60 days to wind down operations on the facilities or face new sanctions of their own, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday. The waivers had been in place since President Donald Trump tore up the 2015 nuclear deal two years ago.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran said Washington was engaging in a “desperate attempt to distract public opinion and the world from its continued defeats at the hands of Iran” and that ending waivers would have "effectively no impact" on the country's continued nuclear program, which it insists is purely civilian.

“These actions are just media noise and nothing more,” the statement added.

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The Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant is the exception to the 60-day deadline, with the State Department saying the waiver would be extended for 90 days to “ensure safety.”

Pompeo cited what he said was Iran's “continued nuclear escalation” as justification for the US move, threatening “greater pressure” on Tehran if it does not comply with US demands.

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said Wednesday that Trump's “maximum pressure” campaign was giving Tehran a choice between negotiating with Washington or dealing with economic collapse triggered by US policies.

Meanwhile, Russian Senator Vladimir Dzhabarov said on Thursday that the US is “provoking Iran to create a nuclear bomb.”

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