Trump's Nuclear Waivers Irk Washington's Iran Hawks

Matthew Petti

Republican hawks in Congress are outraged that foreign companies will still be allowed under U.S. law to work on four highly sensitive Iranian nuclear projects.

U.S. Special Representative Brian Hook Hook quietly unveiled the sixty-day waiver extensions at a Thursday morning press conference at the State Department. He originally downplayed them as “nuclear restrictions on Iran that prevent the continuation of nonproliferation projects that constrain Iran’s nuclear activities,” but the decision was a major blow to prominent Republicans hawks pushing to tear up nuclear nonproliferation agreements with Iran.

“This decision perpetuates Obama's disastrous nuclear deal and sustains Iran's nuclear infrastructure, even as Tehran continues on its path of escalation,” Rep. Liz Cheney (R–Wyo.) told the National Interest, referring to former President Barack Obama. “I urge the president to fully implement his successful maximum pressure campaign against Iran and revoke these waivers once and for all.”

A spokesperson for Ted Cruz (R–Texas) wrote to the National Interest that Cruz “believes that the waivers should have been canceled months ago, and in fact should have never been granted. He will continue to work with his colleagues in the Senate and the House to ensure that they are revoked.”

Cheney, Cruz, and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R–S.C.) had proposed a bill to end the waivers in November 2019, claiming that “these waivers keep the nuclear deal alive and give the Iranians hope they can wait out the Trump administration.”

Graham’s office did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

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