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U.S. Cancels Civil-Nuclear-Cooperation Waiver For Iran

A photo reportedly shows a truck carrying nuclear fuel leaving the Natanz nuclear power plant in the central Iranian province of Isfahan to the underground Fordow facility on November 6.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is canceling one of four sanctions waivers that allowed foreign firms to cooperate with Iran's civilian nuclear program without penalties.

The waivers are some of the last remaining provisions of a landmark 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and world powers that the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from last year. Under the 2015 deal, Tehran pledged to curb its nuclear activities in exchange for international sanctions relief.

Pompeo told a news conference on November 18 that the waiver for Iran's Fordow site will be eliminated in mid-December. Iran has recently stepped up uranium enrichment at the facility.

"President [Hassan] Rohani recently announced that Iran will begin uranium enrichment activities at the Fordow facility," Pompeo said.

"Therefore the United States will terminate the sanctions waiver related to the nuclear facility at Fordow effective December 15, 2019."

Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed in a report that Iran had far surpassed its allowed stocks of enriched uranium.

The waivers for Fordow as well as the Bushehr nuclear power station, the Arak heavy water plant, and the Tehran Research Reactor were last extended late last month.

Meanwhile, the IAEA said on November 18 Tehran was ignoring yet another limit that was meant to rein in its nuclear program under the deal.

Acting IAEA chief Cornel Feruta informed the agency's member countries that Iran's heavy-water stock had now surpassed the 130-ton limit set by the agreement.

The IAEA's governing board is set to discuss the latest developments at its next quarterly meeting on November 21-22 in Vienna.

Based on reporting by AP and dpa