European groups at risk of US sanctions over Iran

European companies risk being hit by US sanctions if they defy Donald Trump’s calls for commercial links with Iran to be severed, the White House national security adviser warned on Sunday.John Bolton said he expected Europe ultimately to go along with the US after the president’s decision to re-impose sanctions on Iran following his withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.But asked on CNN whether EU companies could be hit by the US as a consequence of doing business in the Islamic republic, Mr Bolton said: “The answer is it’s possible”, adding that it depended on the conduct of their governments.“The president said in his statement on Tuesday that countries that continue to deal with Iran could face US sanctions,” he said separately on ABC. Europeans were going to face effective US sanctions “because much of what they would like to sell to Iran involves US technology, for which the licences will not be available.”Mr Trump’s decision on the nuclear accord last week has broadened a rift with America’s EU allies, coming on top of a festering trade dispute. It has triggered angry responses from top EU politicians who have vowed to keep the agreement alive and protect the interests of their companies.Bruno Le Maire, the French finance minister, told Europe-1 radio last week that Europe should not accept the status of “vassals” to the US. Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said Mr Trump’s decision to pull out of the deal made the situation in the Middle East even more difficult.


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