Friday, 22 March, 2019

U.S. curbs 'possible' on European firms over Iran: Bolton

Patty Aguilar | 14 May, 2018, 19:17

"But not anymore!" Trump tweeted.

National security adviser John Bolton said Sunday he believes European nations will ultimately join the USA and leave the Iran nuclear agreement.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday that the United States was withdrawing from a 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

Iran has promised to maintain the deal, regardless of Trump's withdrawal, as long as it still has the support of France and the UK.

Macron and Trump spoke by phone on Saturday, with the U.S. president urging "the need for a comprehensive deal that addresses all aspects of Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East", according to a White House readout of the call.

"The consequences of American sanctions go well beyond goods shipped by American companies", Bolton said.

The Republican also accused the worldwide agreement of encouraging "malign activity" in the Middle East. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas acknowledged, however, that protecting European companies from potential U.S. penalties could be hard.

Trump weighed in later Sunday, saying his decision would limit Iran's regional ambitions.

Germany's minister for economic affairs Peter Altmaier said last week that Berlin will try to "persuade the United States government to change its behaviour".

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U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin also noted in an announcement that "sanctions will be reimposed subject to certain 90 day and 180 day wind-down periods".

Macron's office said the two leaders spoke Saturday and the French leader expressed his "great concern about stability" in the region.

As a private citizen, Bolton in the past has suggested that the United States push for a change in government in Iran. "Therefore, our talks would also discuss the issue of how to make it possible to continue trade with Iran", he said.

"The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons", he added.

In the CNN interview, Bolton did not respond directly when asked whether Trump might seek "regime change" in Iran, or whether the United States military would be ordered to make a pre-emptive strike against any Iranian nuclear facility.

National security adviser John Bolton with President Trump during an April cabinet meeting at the White House.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier that Europe should not accept that the U.S.is the "world's economic policeman", or become the USA "vassals" that "obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their pants;" Rather, Le Maire asked, "or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?" "Europeans are going to face the effective U.S. sanctions, already are really, because much of what they would like to sell to Iran involves USA technology, for which the licenses will not be available".

Bolton expressed optimism that European allies will follow Trump's lead and exit the deal, despite the assertions of the leaders of France, the United Kingdom, and Germany that they intend to remain in the agreement.

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