Published: Tue, August 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Trump warns European Union over decision to protect Iran trade

Trump warns European Union over decision to protect Iran trade

The first set of USA sanctions against Iran that had been eased under the landmark nuclear accord have gone back into effect.

But a second tranche to return to effect on November 5 covering Iran's vital oil sector, could be far more damaging - even if several key customers such as China, India and Turkey have refused to significantly cut their purchases.

"We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran", she said in a statement co-signed by the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany.

The renewed sanctions were among those lifted under a 2015 deal between world powers and Tehran on curbing Iran's nuclear program.

Administration officials, meanwhile, pointed to Iran's ongoing civil unrest and economic woes and reiterated Trump's openness to meeting with Iranian leaders in announcing the sanctions action on Monday. But that has proven hard: European companies have pulled out of Iran, arguing that they can not risk the prospect of damage to their US business.

"It also forbids European Union persons from complying with those [US] sanctions unless exceptionally authorised to do so by the commission", said spokeswoman Mina Andreeva.

Rouhani said Monday, "I don't have preconditions".

"We are doing our best to keep Iran in the deal, to keep Iran benefitting from the economic benefits that the agreement brings to the people of Iran, because we believe that this is (in) the security interests not only of our region but also of the world".

"The morally bankrupt, and we need to remember that next time they try to lecture us", Mr. Erdan told Israel Radio.

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Mr. Erdan was speaking after European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said the bloc is actively encouraging enterprises to increase their business with Iran.

European enterprises can either comply with United States sanctions and face consequences in Europe for violating the "blocking statute" or keep doing business in Iran and face USA sanctions.

"Do you think this person (Trump) is a good and suitable person to negotiate with?"

Former US ambassador John Limbert said that Iran would not surrender, despite trade sanctions imposed by the US.

"No Iranian politician can risk negotiating with the president who trashed the outcome of 12 years of negotiations over the nuclear issue and can't come to any lasting agreement with his own party and US's traditional allies", he said. "But if the government has a serious plan they can control the situation".

But many large European firms are leaving Iran for fear of United States penalties, and Trump warned of "severe consequences" for firms and individuals that continued to do business with Iran.

There have been rumours that Trump and Rouhani could meet in NY in September on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly - though Rouhani reportedly rejected United States overtures for a meeting at last year's event.

"They want to launch psychological warfare against the Iranian nation", Mr Rouhani said.

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