French bid to save Iran nuclear deal takes blow, as US rejects sanctions waiver

French bid to save Iran nuclear deal takes blow, as US rejects sanctions waiver
The US remains committed to its 'maximum pressure' policy on Iran, an official said, meaning it cannot grant sanctions waivers.
2 min read
04 September, 2019
Iran has said it needs the credit line to remain in the deal [Getty]
A senior US official on Wednesday rejected issuing sanctions waivers that would permit a French-proposed credit line to Iran, which Tehran says could bring it back into full compliance with the nuclear deal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani earlier on Wednesday warned that Tehran would continue to scale back its commitments under the historic 2015 deal within the next two days.

France proposed a $15 billion credit line guaranteed by oil to Iran on Tuesday in a last ditch attempt to save the nuclear deal, from which President Donald Trump withdrew last year.

But such a credit line would be dependent on the Trump administration granting sanctions waivers.

"We can't make it any more clear that we are committed to this campaign of maximum pressure and we are not looking to grant any exceptions or waivers," Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran, told reporters.

Hook added that he had not yet seen a "concrete" French proposal for a credit line and therefore could not comment on the idea.

French President Emmanuel Macron has been seeking to ease soaring tensions by bringing some economic relief to Iran and last month appeared to draw President Donald Trump's interest about a touted summit between the US leader and Iran President Hassan Rouhani.

But tensions have soared in recent months between Washington and Tehran, with the two facing off over the crucial Strait of Hormuz shipping route and the downing of a US spy drone.

The US imposed fresh sanctions on Iran's space programme on Tuesday, saying that a recent explosion on a launchpad was a sign of missile work.

The next day Washington slapped sanctions on an Iranian shipping network.

The Treasury Department says the shipping network is controlled by Iran's Revolutionary Guard and is used to ship hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of oil, mostly to Syria.

"There will be more sanctions coming," Hook warned on Wednesday.