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U.S. Official Rules Out Sanctions Waivers For Iran Credit Line Plan

Brian Hook, the State Department coordinator on Iran.

A senior U.S. diplomat has ruled out providing any sanctions waivers to accommodate a French proposal to extend a $15 billion credit line to Iran.

"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 in Washington on September 4.

But Hook also said that he had not yet seen a "concrete" French proposal.

France has said it is prepared to offer Iran a credit line until the end of the year in return for Tehran adhering again to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Under the proposal, Tehran would pay back the credit through future oil sales.

Earlier in the day, the U.S. envoy to the European Union, Gordon Sondland, said Washington was studying the French proposal and would not comment further at this time.

Speaking during a teleconference with reporters, he emphasized that the U.S. policy remained to exert "maximum pressure on Iran" to force it to the negotiating table over its nuclear and missiles programs.

"But the definition of maximum pressure is determined by the president and the president can dial that up and dial that down at his discretion," Sondland added.

Last year, U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 accord and has since reimposed sanctions on Iran. The deal gave Iran access to world trade, including the sale of oil, in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

After the United States started to impose crippling sanctions targeting Iran’s lucrative oil industry and the financial sector, Tehran began exceeding some of the limits on nuclear material and threatened to further breach them on September 5 if the Western European signatories of the deal -- France, Germany, and Britain -- do not offer economic relief.

Asked on September 4 whether he might meet with Iranian President Hassan Rohani at the United Nations, Trump responded: "Sure, anything is possible."

The comment came a day after Rohani ruled out bilateral talks with the United States, though he said the removal of sanctions against Tehran could allow for multilateral talks.

"No decision has ever been taken to hold talks with the United States and there has been a lot of offers for talks but our answer will always be negative," Rohani told parliament.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, AFP, and IRNA