The U.S. Department of State has announced the extension of waivers for domestic as well as for foreign companies that will do business with Iran in order to help the Islamic nation with its civilian nuclear program, The Hill reported.
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.
The decision was reportedly opposed during internal debates by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, but others in the Trump administration including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin 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.