Friday, 16 November, 2018

United States sanctions 'possible' on European companies doing business with Iran

Europe Steps Up Efforts to Salvage Iran Accord Ditched by Trump A new era of nuclear uncertainty
Cristina Norman | 15 May, 2018, 22:36

Top Russian and Iranian diplomats Sergey Lavrov and Mohammad Javad Zarif will discuss at a meeting in Moscow on Monday the possibility of preserving the Iran nuclear deal in the wake of Washington's decision to withdraw from it.

Mohammad Javad Zarif's diplomatic tour took him to Beijing at the weekend and will see him visit Brussels later in the week, as the global backers of the 2015 accord scrabble to save it.

The pair hailed the "comprehensive strategic partnership" between their countries.

He said he was "ready for all options", adding: "If the nuclear deal is to continue, the interests of the people of Iran must be assured".

After the Chinese capital, Zarif will attend talks in Moscow and Brussels with representatives of the pact's other signatories. "The answer is, it's possible, it depends on the conduct of other governments", Bolton replied.

The 2015 deal offered Tehran sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear program.

White House National Security adviser John Bolton said United States sanctions on European companies that maintain business dealings with Iran were "possible". But last week US President Donald Trump announced he was leaving the deal and reimposing sanctions.

The sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy, including petrochemicals, energy and finance.

European signatories have undertaken a flurry of diplomatic activity to try to protect trade deals worth billions.

Despite the United States exit, Britain and Iran expressed their commitment to ensuring that the accord is upheld, according to a statement released by British Prime Minister Theresa May's office.

Some analysts, however, accused him of doubling down on hawkish policies towards Iran.

She said the parties are working on the principle of not dismantling something that works.

Earlier in the week, France, Germany and the United Kingdom expressed "regret and concern" over the US' withdrawal. "We will all save it together".

However, Mr Mianji said he viewed the solidarity of the EU countries as a promising sign of the union's loyalty to the nuclear agreement and opposition of Mr Trump's sanctions.

Zarif is scheduled to talk with Russian Federation on Monday about the nuclear deal.

"I think at the moment there's some feeling in Europe - they're really surprised we got out of it, really surprised at the reimposition of strict sanctions".

In Paris earlier Tuesday, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire held talks with French businesses which have important contracts in Iran.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has called the U.S. withdrawal "impudent" and "worthless". "Our talks (with the E3) will continue in the next two weeks", he said, referring to Britain, France and Germany.

Bolton said he was not present when the aide, Kelly Sadler, told other communications aides at a closed-door staff meeting that McCain's opposition to Gina Haspel as Central Intelligence Agency director did not matter because "he's dying anyway".

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