Thursday 16 January 2020 12:42 pm

German defence minister confirms US car tariff threat over Iran

Germany’s defence minister has confirmed that the US is threatening to impose new tariffs on European car exports if they continue to support the Iranian nuclear deal.

Yesterday, Washington Post cited European sources as saying the Trump administration was threatening a 25 per cent levy on cars made in the UK, Germany and France, over their backing of the JCPoA.

Today, Germany’s Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer confirmed this was the case, according to AFP.

“This expression or threat, as you will, does exist,” she said

She did not say when the threat was expressed, but stressed that Germany would not support the US policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran.

Her admission comes as Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the E3 were planning to “sold out remnants of #JCPOA (the nuclear deal) to avoid new Trump tariffs.”

“If you want to sell your integrity, go ahead,” Zarif tweeted. “But DO NOT assume high moral/legal ground.”

Earlier this week the E3 triggered a dispute mechanism within the JCPoA in the hope of bringing Iran back within compliance, following several months in which the state had pulled away from the deal, which prevents it from developing nuclear weapons.

Today, Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed the decision was not a reaction to Trump’s threats but because of Iran’s actions.

Trump has been a long-time critic of the deal – struck during his predecessor Barack Obama’s tenure – which he pulled the US out of in 2018.

Boris Johnson has indicated the UK would support a new “Trump deal”, however his official spokesman insists that the government is fully behind the JCPoA as the only option currently available.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani claimed the country was now enriching more uranium than it was in 2015.

In a televised speech on Thursday Rouhani said “pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress” .

He also dismissed the proposal for a new deal aimed at resolving the row, saying it was a “strange” offer.

“The government is working daily to prevent military confrontation or war,” Rouhani added.