07/16/2018, 09.05
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Iran nuclear deal: US rejects EU plea, for total trade war against Tehran

The United States has rebuffed the EU request to grant exemptions to European companies from its sanctions against Iran. For Pompeo, there can be waivers only for “very specific circumstances” and if they benefit US national security. Khamenei urges all state bodies to support the actions of the government and President Rouhani.

Tehran (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The United States has rebuffed high-level pleas from the European Union to grant exemptions to European companies from US sanctions against Iran.

In a letter to European governments, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US rejected the appeal because it wants to exert maximum pressure on Iran, noting that waivers would apply only if they benefited US national security.

The EU fears that billions of dollars' worth of trade could be jeopardised as a result of Washington's new sanctions.

"We will seek to provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime," said the letter, which was also signed by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, NBC news reported.

It added that the US is "not in a position to make exceptions to this policy except in very specific circumstances”.

Iran had started to export again, especially oil, after signing the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the brainchild of then US President Barack Obama, a deal agreed to by Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council—China, France, Russia, United Kingdom, United States—plus Germany), and the European Union.

However, the decision by current US President Donald Trump to cancel it and introduce the harshest sanctions in history against Tehran have led to the present crisis.

US opposition to the deal is at odds with that of France, Germany and the UK, which have pledged their commitment to it.

Some of Europe's biggest firms rushed to do business with Iran after the nuclear deal took effect three years ago.

In 2017, EU exports to Iran (goods and services) totalled US$ 12.9 billion, and imports from Iran to the bloc were worth US$ 12 billion. The value of imports was nearly double the 2016 figure.

Now, European companies are concerned that their ties with the US could be damaged if they continue doing Iranian deals.

Meanwhile Iran’s supreme leader on Sunday called on state bodies to support the government of President Hassan Rouhani in fighting looming US economic sanctions, saying that America’s “conspiracy” could be defeated.

“I strongly believe that if the government takes the necessary measures, it will be able to overcome problems,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

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