US extends waivers on Iran sanctions amid coronavirus pandemic

The State Department has moved to extend waivers for U.S. and foreign companies doing business in Iran to assist that country with its civilian nuclear program.

A State Department spokeswoman confirmed to The Associated Press that several waivers had been extended, while sharply criticizing the Iranian government’s efforts to expand nuclear enrichment.

“Iran’s continued expansion of nuclear activities is unacceptable. The regime’s nuclear extortion is among the greatest threats to international peace and security,” the spokeswoman said.

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The decision was reportedly opposed during internal debates by Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoUS extends waivers on Iran sanctions amid coronavirus pandemic Overnight Defense: Pentagon orders bases to stop reporting coronavirus numbers | Hospital ship arrives in NY | Marines pause sending new recruits to boot camp | Defense bill work delayed Democratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories MORE, but others in the Trump administration including Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinUS extends waivers on Iran sanctions amid coronavirus pandemic On The Money: Democrats eye infrastructure in next coronavirus package | Mnuchin touts online system to speed up relief checks | Stocks jump despite more stay-at-home orders Schumer praises choice of Defense inspector general to oversee corporate lending fund MORE argued that the extensions were necessary, due to criticism the U.S. has faced for the effect that U.S. sanctions have had on Iran’s efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Iranian officials have demanded that U.S. sanctions implemented after the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement be relaxed in recent days, accusing the sanctions of stifling Iran’s ability to obtain basic medical supplies amid the outbreak of coronavirus.

“US has gone from sabotage & assassinations to waging an economic war & #EconomicTerrorism on Iranians—to #MedicalTerror amidst #covid19iran. This even ‘exceeds what would be permissible on the battlefield,'” tweeted Iran’s foreign minister Javad Zarif.

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