Trump’s national security advisor says ‘it’s possible’ US will sanction European companies that do business with Iran

Francesca Chambers — Daily Mail May 13, 2018

  • Companies in affected industries have between 90 days and six months to wind down operations in Iran or run the risk of facing stiff U.S. penalties
  • National Security Advisor John Bolton said Sunday that ‘it’s possible’ the Trump administration will impose sanctions on companies that don’t play ball
  • European leaders are lobbying the Trump administration not reimpose external sanctions that could hurt their economies
  • Trump himself said in October that he told Frances’s Macron and the UK’s May ‘take all the money you can get’ from Iran

Donald Trump‘s national security advisor refused on Sunday to say whether the United States would punish European companies that do not cease their business operations in Iran by the end of this year.

Companies within affected industries between 90 days and six months to wind down operations in Iran or run the risk of facing stiff penalties now that the United States is no longer a party to an international accord that lifted sanctions on Tehran.

National Security Advisor John Bolton said on CNN‘s ‘State of the Union’ that ‘it’s possible’ the Trump administration will impose sanctions on companies that run afoul of the new U.S. policies.

‘It depends on the conduct of other governments,’ he stated.

European leaders are committed to remaining in the agreement with Tehran that lifted economic sanctions on the Middle Eastern country so long as it abided by the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal.

But a host of companies are now faced with the prospect of doing business with U.S. or protecting their interests in Tehran.

In his remarks announcing the United States’ withdraw from the deal, President Trump threatened, ‘We will be instituting the highest level of economic sanction. Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States.’

Bolton said in a briefing with reporters immediately after the Tuesday announcement that it would be up to the Treasury Department to determine which affected companies, if any, would get a pass.

British Prime Minister Theresa May raised the issue in a Friday phone call with Trump, a spokesperson for the European leader said.

‘The Prime Minister reiterated the Government’s position on the Iran nuclear deal, noting that we and our European partners remain firmly committed to ensuring the deal is upheld, as the best way of preventing Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

‘The Prime Minister raised the potential impact of US sanctions on those firms which are currently conducting business in Iran

Major British businesses with interests in Iran include Rolls-Royce, Vodafone and British Airways. UK companies have invested £450 billion into Tehran since the U.S. and Europe lifted sanctions after the signing of the accord with partners Russia and China.

Finance ministers in France and Germany pushed Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to grant extensions or waivers to businesses that made lucrative deals with Tehran in the period that sanctions were lifted.

Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, said European states will also try to impose sanctions-blocking measures through the European Commission.

‘Do we accept extraterritorial sanctions? The answer is no,’ Le Maire said.

‘Do we accept that the United States is the economic gendarme of the planet? The answer is no. Do we accept the vassalization of Europe in commercial matters? The answer is no.’

Le Maire is seeking exemptions for Renault, Total, Sanofi, Danone and Peugeot and other companies already doing business with Tehran.

Trump’s new ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, suggested that exemptions were unlikely, saying Thursday, ‘German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately.’

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