(News Desk) – Major European powers as well as the European Union have written a letter to the United States, urging Washington not to go ahead with its planned “secondary sanctions” against European firms doing business in Iran.
Foreign ministers from the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini addressed the message to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Monday, reported The Wall Street Journal, which has reviewed the letter dated June 4.
The secondary bans, which US President Donald Trump administration plans to enforce, would affect foreign companies conducting business with third countries.
Washington has already re-introduced its nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran. It did so last month after unilaterally pulling out of a 2015 multilateral nuclear accord with Tehran, despite warnings and criticisms from the other signatories – France, the UK, Germany, China and Russia – and the European Union.
The ministers said their governments seek to keep up the sanctions relief against Tehran despite Washington’s withdrawal from the deal.
“In their current state, US secondary sanctions could prevent the European Union from continuing meaningful sanctions relief to Iran,” they warned.
“Europeans are going to face the effective US sanctions,” hawkish and signally-anti-Iran US national security adviser John Bolton said after the US left the deal.
“The letter requests broad exemptions for EU companies that signed contracts after the Iranian nuclear accord took effect in January 2016. It also seeks waivers to maintain financial channels with the Central Bank of Iran and other Iranian lenders not sanctioned by the EU,” the paper added, citing the contents of the message.
The letter repeated previous warnings of potential security upshots from the deal’s likely extermination, noting, “As allies, we expect that the United States will refrain from taking action to harm Europe’s security interests.”
Tehran has said it will stay in the agreement for now and wait for the result of its negotiations with the other parties.
Iran says the Europeans need to take practical measures to ensure its interests will still be protected after the US withdrawal.
In the first step to save the deal, the European Union activated last month its Blocking Statute, a law that makes it illegal for any European Union company to comply with US sanctions.
Washington has in recent weeks stepped up its campaign of fearmongering among European firms, threatening them with punitive measures should they continue dealing with Iran once American sanctions are back.