France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the European Union have called on the US to exempt EU companies and individuals from Washington’s sanctions against Iran.
“The Ministers for Foreign Affairs and the Economy and Finance of France, Germany, Great Britain and the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy decided [in a letter] to request jointly to their American colleagues, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Minister Stephen Mnuchin, exemption for legal entities and individuals from the EU from the extraterritorial effects of US secondary sanctions,” a spokesman for the EU government has reported.
According to the official, the application includes “confirmation that secondary sanctions will not be applied to pharmaceuticals and health” as well as “a request for exemption for key sectors such as energy, automotive, civil aviation and infrastructure projects.” The letter also calls for “ensuring [banking] and financial channels remain.”
These measures, the agency’s source explained, “aim to reduce the risks that US secondary sanctions may pose to businesses and economic operators.”
The letter notes that all the countries mentioned “would welcome the constructive approach of the US authorities on these issues of concern.”
The EU has slammed the US’ recent decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the nuclear deal with Iran, and has affirmed its commitment to support the treaty provided that Iran complies with its obligations. Fort Russ News’ analysts have pointed out that the EU-US rift over the Iran deal is a signal of a larger crisis of Atlanticism, and is likely to push the EU towards pursuing more independent policies from the US. This and other recent bouts between the US and EU have led to forecasts of a full-scale “trade war” breaking out between America and Europe.
Since Trump declared Washington’s unilateral withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran, the US has used sanctions to pressure Iran and pressure its allies to follow suit. The US Treasury has openly called this part of an “aggressive campaign” against Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.
On May 22, Washington imposed sanctions on five members of the latter Iranian organization, claiming that it had provided missiles to Houthi resistance fighters in Yemen. Earlier, the Treasury sanctioned 6 individuals, including Valiollah Seif, the head of the Central Bank of Iran, for alleged links with the Revolutionary Guards and Hezbollah, which Washington regards as a terrorist group.