The US administration is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies that do business in Iran following his withdrawal of the US from the international nuclear deal.
Trump’s most senior foreign policy aides signalled that the US would continue pressuring allies to follow Washington in backing out of the pact, which gave Tehran relief from sanctions in exchange for halting its nuclear programme.
John Bolton said he expected Europe ultimately to go along with the US after the president’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran following his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. “Europeans will see that it’s in their interests to come along with us rather than continue with the 2015 deal, under which major European corporations have signed billions of dollars of contracts in Iran, said John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser. Speaking on CNN’s State of the Union whether that meant the Trump administration would impose sanctions against those firms, Bolton said: “It’s possible. It depends on the conduct of other governments.”
US sanctions on Iran reimposed following Trump’s withdrawal not only block American firms from doing business in the country, but also bar foreign firms that do business there from accessing the entire US banking and financial system.
The US secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, told Fox News that wealth created in Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal “drove Iranian malign activity” in the region. He also declined to rule out sanctions against European firms. “The sanctions regime that is in place now is very clear on what the requirements are.”
European executives have acknowledged in private that it would be hard for any multinational company with businesses and financial ties to the US to remain active in Iran given the scope of US sanctions. Mr Bolton asked in his ABC interview: “Why would any business, why would the shareholders of any business want to do business with the world’s central banker of international terrorism?” But he also attempted to play down the scale of the transatlantic rift. “I think we’ll work with all of the Europeans,” he said. “We all share the common objective of making sure Iran never gets nuclear weapons.”
Sunday, British Prime Minister Theresa May told the Iranian President said that Britain and its European partners remain committed to ensuring the nuclear deal with Iran is upheld and Tehran must continue to meet its obligations under the pact.
“Both leaders agreed the importance of continued dialogue between the two countries, and looked forward to the meeting of UK, German, French and Iranian foreign ministers in Brussels on Tuesday,” according to a readout of the call with President Hassan Rouhani that was issued by May’s office.
Sources: The Guardian, Fox News, CNN, Financial Times