Sunday, July 22, 2018 | ePaper

Europe moves to safeguard interests in Iran after US pullout

  • Print


EU high representative for foreign affairs Federica Mogherini speaking in Florence.

Reuters, Berlin :
Europe's largest economies lobbied to protect their companies' investments in Iran on Friday, 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 U.S. 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," Le Maire told reporters.
"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."
British Prime Minister Theresa May and Trump agreed in a phone call that talks were needed to discuss how U.S sanctions on Iran would affect foreign companies operating in the country.
May's spokeswoman said May had told 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 Le Maire and Germany's finance minister Olaf Scholz had spoken to their U.S. counterpart Steven Mnuchin, urging him to consider exemptions or delays for companies already present in the country.
Le Maire said he was seeking concrete exemptions for countries already present in Iran, including Renault, Total, Sanofi, Danone and Peugeot. Scholz had also asked for concrete measures to help German companies, Handelsblatt newspaper reported.
The 2015 agreement between major powers and Iran set limits on its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of sanctions. Europeans fear a collapse of the deal could intensify conflicts in the Middle East.
Germany, France and Britain want talks to be held in a broader format to include Iran's ballistic missile program and its regional military activities, including in Syria and Yemen.
"The extent to which we can keep this deal alive ... is something we need to discuss with Iran," said Merkel, who earlier spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue.
Divisions in Iran over how it should respond to the U.S. pullout were illustrated as senior cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami told worshippers at Tehran University on Friday that European nations could not be trusted.
President Hassan Rouhani had said on Tuesday that Tehran would remain in the deal, provided its benefits stayed in force with its remaining signatories.
Iran's foreign minister will travel to Moscow on May 14 and meet his Russian counterpart, Russia's RIA news agency said, citing a Russian foreign ministry official.

More News For this Category

'Suffering' ends with Honduran baby back in parents' arms

'Suffering' ends with Honduran baby back in parents' arms

AP, San Pedro Sula :For months, a Honduran couple watched their only son grow up in videos while he was kept in U.S. government custody. That's where he took

Saudi Arabia slams 'racial discrimination' of Israeli law

Saudi Arabia slams 'racial discrimination' of Israeli law

AFP, Riyadh :Saudi Arabia has slammed a controversial Israeli law as "perpetuating racial discrimination" against Palestinians by defining the country as the nation state of the Jewish people, state

France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims

France, Russia send humanitarian aid to Syria for Ghouta victims

AFP, Châteauroux : France and Russia on Saturday despatched a plane carrying humanitarian aid to the ravaged former Syrian rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, which was retaken by government forces

White House rejects Putin's idea for Ukraine referendum

AP, Washington : The White House rejected on Friday a Vladimir Putin-backed effort to hold a referendum in eastern Ukraine on the region's future, distancing itself from the idea in

News In Brief

10 Iranian troops killed by gunmen near IraqAP, Tehran An Iranian news agency is reporting 10 border guards have been killed in an attack by unidentified gunmen near the Iraqi

US presses China and Russia to enforce sanctions on N Korea

US presses China and Russia to enforce sanctions on N Korea

AP, United Nations : The United States on Friday welcomed the U.N. Security Council's united support for the fully verified denuclearization of North Korea and pressed China and Russia to

Parliament debates no-confidence motion against Modi`s govt

Parliament debates no-confidence motion against Modi`s govt

AP, New Delhi :Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi accused the government of failing to live up to its promises as the Indian Parliament on Friday debated a no-confidence motion

Germany moves to formally close Puigdemont extradition case

Germany moves to formally close Puigdemont extradition case

AP, Berlin  :German prosecutors say they've received official notification that Spain has withdrawn the European arrest warrant for former Catalan president Carles Puigdemont, bringing extradition proceedings against the separatist

Park given 8 more years in prison

Park given 8 more years in prison

AFP, Seoul :Disgraced South Korean president Park Geun-hye was convicted of charges including illegally receiving funds from the country's spy agency on Friday and given eight more years in

News In Brief

Peru's SC President resigns AFP, LimaPeru's Supreme Court chief justice resigned Thursday after the publication of a series of audio recordings sparked a growing scandal over the sale of