By Sandy Fitzgerald
The Trump administration has refused wide-ranging protections for European companies operating in Iran, rejecting appeals from Britain, France and Germany for exemptions from sanctions on the Tehran regime. According to U.S. and western officials, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin have written, in response to a June 4 letter from the European countries, that the administration would not approve the plea for relief, with only limited exemptions allowed based on humanitarian or national security reasons, NBC News reported Saturday. The administration, after pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal on May 8, has plans to reimpose stiff economic sanctions on Iran, with the first wave to take place by August and a second set of sanctions to hit in November. The letter from the Trump administration to the European leaders said the Iran nuclear deal had failed to “guarantee the safety of the American people,” and that the United States planned a “tangible, demonstrable and sustained shift in the policies we have enumerated,” the U.S. and Western officials told NBC. Further, the United States plans to “provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime,” and is not in a position to make exceptions except in the cases of national security or humanitarian reasons. The State Department declined to comment to NBC.
Britain, France and Germany disagree with the United States’ decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal, and in the letter sent last month, asked the United States to not punish firms involved in certain sectors, such as auto manufacturing, aviation, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and energy, for dealing with Iran.
Meanwhile, Pompeo has planned an address on July 22, titled “Supporting Iranian Voices,” after posting a series of tweets endorsing Iranian protests.