Republican Representative Liz Cheney, the daughter of the former US Vice President Dick Cheney, will introduce a bill that will forbid the Trump administration from extending nuclear waivers to Iran, The Hill reported Monday.
According to current rules, the White House has the right to issue ‘civil nuclear’ waivers, allowing foreign companies to conduct non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear facilities. Cheney’s bill will remove this option.
"These ‘civil nuclear' waivers legitimize Iran's illicit nuclear infrastructure and help sustain President Obama's disastrous nuclear deal," Cheney said to The Washington Free Beacon, adding that "Congress is determined to support President Donald Trump's rightful exit from that deal and his successful maximum pressure campaign against Tehran.”
“That is why I will soon be introducing legislation that revokes these exceptions and ensures that the nuclear deal is totally and completely dismantled," she said.
In 2018, Trump unilaterally withdrew from the so-called Iranian nuclear deal, signed by the US, Iran, Russia, China, the EU and several European nations.
Cheney’s bill will be mirrored by additional legislation authored by Senators Ted Cruz and Lindsay Graham, who called the waiver mechanism a “loophole,” according to The Hill.
Earlier last week, Trump renewed waivers allowing foreign companies to cooperate with Iran on nuclear projects.
Trump’s nuclear waivers received staunch criticism from “hawks” within Congress, including Cruz and Graham.
"This is disappointing and another lost opportunity to tear up the catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal once and for all," the two senators said in a joint statement. “President Trump should immediately order his administration to stop issuing civil nuclear waivers.”
Despite the lawmakers’ initiative, the waivers in question were already signed, The Hill reports, citing the US State Department. The department has defended the mechanism, saying it allows them to keep an eye on Iran’s nuclear development.
"This decision will help preserve oversight of Iran's civil nuclear program, reduce proliferation risks, constrain Iran's ability to shorten its ‘breakout time' to a nuclear weapon, and prevent the regime from reconstituting sites for proliferation-sensitive purposes," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed in a statement last week.