US Rejects European Requests For Relief On Iranian Sanctions

The United States has reportedly rejected requests from European allies that are seeking exemptions from U.S. sanctions imposed on countries doing business in Iran. 

According to diplomats and other officials, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin wrote a letter to Britain, France and Germany saying the U.S. would not provide widespread protection from sanctions to countries doing business in Iran. 

Pompeo and Mnuchin said in their letter, first reported by NBC News, that they are seeking “to provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime.” 

The U.S. did add, however, that it would grant limited exceptions, based on national security or humanitarian grounds. The letter came in response to a request last month from Britain, France and Germany.

The U.S. pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal earlier this year. The deal sought to limit Iran’s nuclear activity in exchange for sanctions relief. 

The U.S. said it plans to reimpose tough sanctions on Iran, beginning in early August, targeting Iran’s automotive sector, trade and gold, and other key metals. 

A second set of sanctions are set to begin in early November. Those sanctions will focus on Iran’s energy sector and petroleum related transactions and transactions with the central bank of Iran. 

The U.S. has warned other countries that they will also face sanctions if they continue to trade with sanctioned sectors of the Iranian economy. 

The Trump administration’s hard stance on Iranian sanctions is part of a growing list of contentious moves that the U.S. has engaged in with its allies. On a recent trip to Europe, Trump complained members of the NATO alliance are not fiscally responsible. The U.S. leader also criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May’s handling of Brexit. He has also called the European Union a “foe” on trade issues.

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