Pompeo says U.S. will no longer waive sanctions on Fordow facility

November 19, 2019

TEHRAN – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Monday that the U.S. will no longer waive sanctions related to Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant after Tehran resumed uranium enrichment at the site more than a year after Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement.

“The right amount of uranium enrichment for the world’s largest state sponsor of terror is zero ... There is no legitimate reason for Iran to resume enrichment at this previously clandestine site,” Reuters quoted Pompeo as saying.

Earlier this month, Iran started to inject uranium gas into centrifuges at the Fordow nuclear facility under the supervision of inspectors from the UN nuclear watchdog, officially going on with the fourth step since it began responding to Washington’s abandonment of the nuclear deal and an inaction by the remaining parties, including Europeans, to shield Iran from sanctions.

Iran took the first step to scale down nuclear commitments on May 8.  The other two steps were taken two months later each. 

In the first step, Iran removed cap on its stockpile of nuclear enrichment which had been limited to 300 kilograms. In the second, Iran started enriching uranium beyond 3.67 percent. And in the third, Iran removed ban on nuclear research and development.

Pompeo also called on Iran to end violence against protesters.

“We condemn strongly any acts of violence committed by this regime against the Iranian people and are deeply concerned by reports of several fatalities,” he said.

It came days after the U.S. secretary of state voiced his support for Iranian protesters, right after he insisted “continued pressure” on Iran, which includes economic sanctions targeting the Iranian people.

“As I said to the people of Iran almost a year and a half ago: The United States is with you,” Pompeo said in his Twitter account on Saturday, retweeting a Persian-language tweet he sent out in July 2018 that attacked the Islamic Republic’s policies.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said on Sunday that the Iranian people condemn Pompeo’s support for rioters.

“Actions being taken by a number of rioters and saboteurs who are supported by someone like him [Pompeo] have nothing to do with the insightful Iranian people,” Mousavi said.

Protests erupted in some cities in Iran against the government’s measure in rationing gasoline and substantially increasing gasoline price. The protests have turned violent with reports of clashes between security forces and certain elements vandalizing public property.

MH/PA

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