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Europeans criticize US move to revoke Iran sanction waivers

BERLIN (AP) — The western European parties to the landmark nuclear deal with Iran on Saturday criticized a U.S. decision to end nearly all of the last vestiges of sanctions relief provided under the 2015 pact.

The U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the deal with Iran in 2018, leaving the others involved — France, Germany, Britain, China and Russia — struggling to keep it alive. The deal promises Iran economic incentives in return for curbs on its nuclear program. The deal was meant to prevent Iran from developing a bomb, even though Iran said it did not want to do that.

With the re-imposition of American sanctions, however, Iran's economy has been struggling, and it has been violating the restrictions of the pact in order to try to pressure the other nations to do more to help it economically.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo raised the stakes on Wednesday, saying he would revoke all but one of the sanctions waivers covering civil nuclear cooperation. The waivers had allowed Russian, European and Chinese companies to continue to work on Iran’s civilian nuclear facilities without drawing American penalties.

In a joint statement, the foreign ministries of Germany, France and Britain said they “deeply regret the U.S. decision.” “These projects, endorsed by U.N. Security Council resolution 2231, serve the nonproliferation interests of all and provide the international community with assurances of the exclusively peaceful and safe nature of Iranian nuclear activities,” they said.

“We are consulting with our partners to assess the consequences of this decision by the United States.”

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