The U.S. does not want to release EU companies from the sanctions that Washington intends to impose on Iran, stated the Minister of Economy and Finance of France Bruno Le Maire in an interview published on Friday in the newspaper Le Figaro.
“In the spring of this year I wrote to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin with a request to make an exception for European countries that are legally operating in Iran, and to extend the period in which they will not be under the sanctions. Now we have received the answer from the U.S., and the answer is no,” said the French minister.
The State Department earlier announced Washington’s intention to reduce Iran’s revenues from oil exports to zero. On May 8, President Donald Trump announced Washington’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a deal that was concluded in 2015 and limited Tehran’s nuclear development in exchange for lifting UN Security Council sanctions and unilateral restrictive measures imposed by the U.S. and the EU.
Trump not only promised to restore the old sanctions within 90-180 days, but also to introduce new restrictive measures. American sanctions, affecting Iran’s energy sector, will be reinstated on November 4.
In connection with this, Le Maire stressed that “it is necessary to take prompt measures and make every effort to guarantee the commercial sovereignty of the European Union.”
“Europe needs to secure tools that will allow it to resist extraterritorial sanctions [the United States], while developing autonomous funding networks,” the minister said. “The U.S. has no right to decide with which country we have the right to trade.”
Answering a question about whether Europe should resist the U.S. in connection with other commercial disputes that arise, in particular with the increase of import duties, the minister said, “A commercial war has begun, started by Donald Trump. Now the right decision for Europe will be to give a decisive, unified, and appropriate response to this… If the U.S. persists in its policy, the Europeans will have to make new decisions with regard to them.”
“We will not negotiate with the United States as long as they maintain their unilateral and unfair measures that are contrary to the norms of international law. If we act differently, it would be an admission of weakness and completely contrary to our interests,” said La Maire.