WASHINGTON—Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas joined with Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) in calling for President Donald Trump to drop waivers on domestic Iranian power projects under the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran and to reimpose tough international sanctions against Tehran.
“On Sunday, Iran backed out of catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal, which theyve long exploited to build up their nuclear facilities,” the lawmakers said in a joint statement released Jan. 6.
“There are no more pretenses. Iran has made it very clear that they are just trying to wait out the Trump administration and among other things secure an end to the arms embargo, which is set to expire in October 2020. The United States gains nothing by pretending otherwise,” they said in the statement.
Cruz and Graham are members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, while Cheney is a member of the House Armed Services Committee.
Referring to the deal negotiated by former President Barack Obama and then-Secretary of State John Kerry, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the legislators pointed to two actions they believe Trump should take as soon as possible:
“First, President Trump should immediately end all civil-nuclear waivers. Second, he should order our diplomats to invoke the United Nations snapback to restore international sanctions and restrictions on Iran.”
The “snapback” sanctions are those that were in place through the United Nations when the JCPOA was signed in 2015. They were aimed at Irans nuclear research and development efforts.
The JCPOA included a provision that would renew the sanctions in the event that Iran violated the agreement and at least one of the other nations that entered the deal objected. Besides the United States, the signers included Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and China.
The project waivers are crucial to Irans ability to continue development on three projects.
The Fordow Project is an underground enrichment facility thats clearly intended for use as a nuclear weapons resource, in violation of the JCPOA, according to the three legislators.
Under the JCPOA, Iran negotiators agreed that the project would be converted to a research center, for which its centrifuges used in uranium enrichment would no longer be useful.
The Arak Reactor is a heavy-water reactor capable of making enough plutonium to complete at least one nuclear weapon annually. Under the JCPOA, Iran said it would redesign the reactor to reduce its capabilities.
“However, Irans nuclear chief bragged the project can be easily reversed because Iran secretly imported illicit parts, allowing them to quickly reverse all the changes,” the legislators said last year.
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