Monday 20 May 2019

UK, France and Germany seek exemption from US sanctions over Iran

Boris Johnson was one of three ministers expressing ‘strong regret’ over Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the nuclear deal.

Mr Johnson joined the finance ministers of France and Germany in the call (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Mr Johnson joined the finance ministers of France and Germany in the call (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

By Associated Press Reporters

The UK, France and Germany have joined forces to urge the United States to exempt European companies from any sanctions the US will slap on Iran after pulling out of an international nuclear agreement.

In a letter to US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, ministers from the three European countries, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said they “strongly regret” President Donald Trump’s decision last month to withdraw from the Iran deal.

Mr Trump has said sanctions will be imposed on any company doing business with Tehran.

Mr Trump announced last month that the US would withdraw from the deal (AP)

The three European countries were also signatories of the 2015 deal, which was meant to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

In their letter, the ministers said that “as close allies we expect that the extraterritorial effects of US secondary sanctions will not be enforced on EU entities and individuals, and the United States will thus respect our political decision and the good faith of economic operators within EU legal territory”.

The ministers, including French finance minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Olaf Scholz, said they want the US to “grant exemptions” for EU companies that have been doing business with Iran since the deal came into force in 2016.

They also said Iran should not be cut out of the SWIFT system for international money transfers.

Many companies from Europe and the US have been steadily building up their investments in Iran in the past few years in the wake of the nuclear deal, particularly in the fields of pharmaceuticals, banking and oil.

Mr Le Maire tweeted that EU businesses “must be able to pursue their activities”.

Press Association

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