"The Iranian regime has continued its nuclear brinkmanship by expanding proliferation sensitive activities. These escalatory actions are unacceptable and I cannot justify renewing the waiver for these JCPOA-related activities as a result," argued Pompeo in the May 27 news release.
He also noted that the State Department also moved to sanction "two leaders of Iran's nuclear enrichment program": Majid Agha’i and Amjad Sazgar.
I am also sanctioning two leaders of Iran’s nuclear enrichment program - Majid Agha’i and Amjad Sazgar. Iran’s scientists need to make a choice: pursue peaceful work outside of the proliferation realm, or risk being sanctioned.— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) May 27, 2020
At the same time, the US official revealed Washington would be providing a 90-day extension for the waiver regarding international support to Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant Unit 1 "to ensure safety," according to Reuters.
The State Department's latest move was expected following a Wednesday afternoon report in the Washington Post which cited an internal memo from the department.
According to the outlet, the memo noted Pompeo would move to “end the sanctions waiver covering JCPOA-related nuclear projects in Iran."
Alex Vatanka, an expert on Iran with the Middle East Institute, told Reuters that the Trump administration's decision to place tighter restrictions on Iran's nuclear program is part of an effort to "make [life] as hard as possible for whoever takes over from Trump."
Back in March, Pompeo begrudgingly signed off on waiver extensions after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin reportedly argued that eliminating the waivers would not be in the best interest of the Trump administration amid the global pandemic.
“Iran’s continued expansion of nuclear activities is unacceptable. The regime’s nuclear extortion is among the greatest threats to international peace and security,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said at the time, as reported by the Associated Press.
The waivers were some of the last remnants of the Iran nuclear deal, which US President Donald Trump abandoned in May 2018. Since then, tensions between Tehran and Washington have escalated due to US-imposed, anti-Iran sanctions.