EU officially asks for exemptions from Iran sanctions

EU officially asks for exemptions from Iran sanctions
The EU is urging the Trump administration to exempt European companies from sanctions on Iran, as fears grow over the fallout of the US abandoning the international nuclear deal with Tehran.

Ministers from Germany, the UK and France, along with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini, have signed a letter asking the US to allow its companies to continue to trade with Iran and spare certain industries from punitive measures.

The letter, dated June 4, was addressed to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and  Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It expressed ‘strong regret’ over President  Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 Iran deal, to which their nations were also signatories.

The agreement, brokered by the Obama administration, was intended to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. However, Trump felt it did not go far enough and vowed to reissue sanctions against the nation and any companies doing business with Tehran.

“As allies, we expect that the United States will refrain from taking action to harm Europe’s security interests,” the letter states before outlining a list of demands.

Among the specific requests are exemptions for all companies that initiated or concluded Iran-related contracts after international sanctions were lifted under the accord in 2016.

The ministers also sought confirmation that secondary sanctions will not be applied to pharmaceuticals and health care, and they asked for special exemptions for the energy, automotive, civil aviation and infrastructure sectors, as well as banking activities, including the Swift financial messaging system.

US officials have been adamant that they expect companies in Europe and elsewhere to abide by the sanctions.

Some European companies have already backed out of doing business with Iran in light of the US move. Just a day ago, French carmaker PSA confirmed that it was withdrawing from the Iranian market over the risk of US sanctions.

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