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Friday, 11 May 2018

Europe moves to safeguard interests in Iran after US pullout

Europe moves to safeguard interests in Iran after US pullout
Europe's largest economies lobbied to protect their companies' investments in Iran today, seeking to keep the nuclear deal with Tehran alive after Washington pulled out and threatened to impose sanctions on European companies.


Germany and France have significant trade links with Iran and remain committed to the nuclear agreement, as does Britain, and the three countries' foreign ministers plan to meet on Tuesday to discuss it.

That is part of a flurry of diplomatic activity following Tuesday's unilateral withdrawal from what US President Donald Trump called "a horrible, one-sided deal", a move accompanied by the threat of penalties against any foreign firms doing business in Iran.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said ways to save the deal without Washington needed to be discussed with Tehran, while France's Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said EU states would propose sanctions-blocking measures to the European Commission.

"Do we accept extraterritorial sanctions? The answer is no," Mr Le Maire told reporters.

"Do we accept that the United States is the economic gendarme of the planet? The answer is no."

British Prime Minister Theresa May and Mr Trump agreed in a phone call that talks were needed to discuss how US sanctions on Iran would affect foreign companies operating in the country.

Mrs May's spokeswoman said Mrs May had told Mr Trump that Britain and its European partners remained "firmly committed" to ensuring the deal was upheld as the best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Both Mr Le Maire and Germany's Finance Minister Olaf Scholz had spoken to their US counterpart Steven Mnuchin, urging him to consider exemptions or delays for companies already present in the country.
  (RTE)
 11/5/18

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