The U.S. recently made changes to the sanctions waivers related to Iran’s nuclear enrichment efforts. The JCPOA (“Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action”) permitted a certain level of enrichment and development at Iranian nuclear sites, and the US, even though it withdrew from the JCPOA, repeatedly provided 180-day sanctions waivers related to the program. However, the United States recently reduced the timeframe of the waivers from 180 days to 90 days.

Reasons for the Waiver Timeframe Reduction

It is not completely clear what the purpose behind the reduction is, but it may be possible that this is an effort by the U.S. to put both Iran and JCPOA partners ‘on notice’ with regard to the development of its nuclear programs. The provisions provided in the JCPOA are that Iran may have certain capabilities within a certain time period after the JCPOA was implemented. The United States may be trying to invoke Iran to negotiate a new nuclear deal by altering the nuclear-related waivers.

Ali Larijani, Parliamentary Speaker of Iran, said that the nation will move forward with its uranium enrichment. Iran believes that abiding by the terms of the JCPOA is and should be entirely permitted by the international community. Iran is resistant with regard to the sanctions, and it wants to continue uranium enrichment as well as oil exports to Asia and Europe.

How the Reduction Impacts Waiver Recipients

The waivers are still available to any persons or entities assisting Iran’s nuclear program in its uranium enrichment activities. The recent change was simply a reduction in the amount of time allotted under the waivers. This reduction increases the worry that the United States is attempting to crack down on activity that was in compliance with the JCPOA. It also allows the United States to more frequently reassess whether to grant a waiver.