Tuesday, 22 May, 2018

Bolton: US Could Sanction European Companies Doing Business With Iran

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Deanna Wagner | 17 May, 2018, 04:25

Germany and France joined him in reiterating their commitment to the deal, which restricts Iran's nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

Despite the 2015 deal loosened controls on European investment in Iran, many companies remained unable to invest because of the political uncertainty and the tighter restrictions still in place in the United States. "It depends on the conduct of other governments".

Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Siemens (SIEGY) CEO Joe Kaeser said his company could not do any new business in Iran after President Donald Trump chose to ditch the deal and re-impose United States sanctions.

The extent that European trade could continue to work with non-US linked banks to invest in Iran is unclear, said Maya Lester, a British barrister and expert on sanctions legislation. He declined to rule out sanctions against European firms.

Bolton struck a more hawkish tone with his comments in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" program than Pompeo did on "Fox News Sunday".

Exports of German goods to Iran rose by around 400 million euros to 3 billion euros. There they will begin to discuss a coherent and cohesive policy response to preserve European business interests in Iran, while protecting their investments from USA sanctions.

Some European leaders have called for measures to nullify the U.S. sanctions.

Germany's minister for economic affairs, Peter Altmaier, said on Sunday that Berlin would try to "persuade the US government to change its behavior". The Kremlin said that Russian Federation and its ex-Soviet allies in the European Economic Union will sign a free-trade pact with Iran next week.

US Senate panel advances Gina Haspel to lead Central Intelligence Agency
Haspel said: "I would not allow C.I.A.to undertake activity that I thought is immoral, even if it is technically legal". McCain, who has been away from Washington all year as he battles brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel.

There is now a very strong hostility between Washington and Tehran, the U.S. is speaking more or less openly about regime change and it is impossible in this context for President Rohani to keep an open mind towards such an option. "Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States".

It was an irony that escaped few European officials: They were trying to find ways to ease the economic pressure on Iran and keep it in the nuclear deal, while Washington was trying to increase that pressure for unclear ends.

In the wake of Trump's announcement, Iranian and Israeli forces exchanged missile fire.

“We're telling the Americans that it's their business what sanctions they impose, but we consider the extraterritoriality of these measures unacceptable, ” Le Drian said. New business deals have been immediately barred.

Zarif will meet with the foreign ministers of the three European countries in Brussels on Tuesday, May 15 to discuss the future of the deal.

Though Europe will do its best to keep the deal afloat and convince Iran to uphold its commitment without the United States, O'Sullivan said: "I very much doubt it will be possible to reinstate anything like that global consensus [in the JCPOA] given that it is the United States walking away from a deal that Iran agreed to". He will visit Beijing followed by Moscow and Brussels, a spokesman said, holding meetings with all of the remaining parties to the 2015 agreement. A senior cleric and the head of Iran's revolutionary guard have warned against trusting foreign countries. On Sunday, Prime Minister Theresa May told Rouhani in a phone call Britain and its European partners will remain committed to the deal as long as Tehran continues to meet its obligations.

In Brussels, Zarif will attend a meeting with his French, German and British counterparts as well as European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini.