Europe stands ground over US-Iran feud

James Booth
Trump has ripped up agreements with Iran (Source: Getty)

European leaders hit back yesterday at US President Donald Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran, which took effect tonight.

A joint statement from the UK, French, German and EU foreign ministers said they “deeply regret” the US decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump has repeatedly railed against the agreement signed in 2015 by Iran, China, France, Russia, the UK, the US, Germany and the EU.

The European statement said preserving the deal was a “matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security”.

It is introducing a “blocking statute” today to shield EU companies “doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial

sanctions” the statement said.

The blocking statute will allow EU companies to recover damages resulting from US sanctions and bans them from complying with sanctions unless they get special dispensation from the European Commission.

Under the deal Iran agreed to drastically scale back its nuclear programme in return for relief from sanctions introduced by the international community over fears it was developing nuclear weapons.

Trump yesterday slammed the “horrible, one-sided deal,” which was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.

“Our policy is based on a clear-eyed assessment of the Iranian dictatorship, its sponsorship of terrorism, and its continuing aggression in the Middle East and all around the world,” Trump said.

The deal “threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos,” Trump said.

He was praised by Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who said: “I congratulate President Trump and the US administration for making the important decision to impose sanctions on Iran... I call upon the countries of Europe, which talk about stopping Iran, to join this measure.”

Yesterday’s announcement follows escalating rhetoric between Iran and the US which peaked on 23 July when Trump blasted Iran in an all-caps tweet following comments by the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani who said “war with Iran is the mother of all wars”.

Trump has said he is willing to meet the Iranian president to discuss a deal.

Last night Rouhani said: “Trump’s call for direct talks is only for domestic consumption in America.”