Trump signals sanctions on EU companies over Iran

Donald Trump warned European companies that they would face secondary sanctions if they violated US restrictions on doing business with Tehran following Washington’s move to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

The US president said on Sunday that he would not exempt European companies from Iran-related sanctions — suggesting that EU demands for waivers would be ignored.

Asked in a Fox News interview if he would sanction European companies that did business with Iran, Mr Trump responded: “Yes, of course. That’s what we’re doing. Absolutely.”

Mr Trump’s declaration came less than a month after Germany, Britain and France pleaded with his administration to provide exemptions for EU companies, as Europe tries to salvage the nuclear deal without US participation. In a letter to Steven Mnuchin, US Treasury secretary, and Mike Pompeo, US secretary of state, they said the deal was the “best means” to prevent a nuclear Iran and that there were “no credible alternatives”.

Mr Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year and has shown no signs since of reversing course. The president replaced Rex Tillerson as secretary of state with Mr Pompeo, a hardliner on Iran, and also named John Bolton, another hardliner on Tehran, to serve as his third White House national security adviser.

Mr Trump was asked if he believed that Iran had restarted uranium enrichment activities, as Tehran claimed last month. “If they do, they’re going to have a very big problem,” the president responded.

The refusal to exempt European companies will further inflame tensions between the US and its allies in Europe. Transatlantic relations have severely deteriorated under Mr Trump over issues from trade to defence spending. Mr Trump also angered some US allies last month when he called on the G7 to readmit Russia as a member.

Source: The Financial Times

 Trader Aleksandar Kumanov

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