USA curbs 'possible' on European firms over Iran: Bolton

USA curbs 'possible' on European firms over Iran: Bolton

It left European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany - signatories of the 2015 deal to stop Iran developing nuclear weapons - with their backs against the wall as they prepared for a dinner meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

Top Iranian officials, including Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, have said Europeans must give the required guarantees in order for Tehran to stay in the deal. Ahead of the meeting Iran's top diplomat has spoken about the JCPOA after the USA withdrawal from the deal.

U.S. President Donald Trump on May 8 announced that the United States was withdrawing from a 2015 deal negotiated by the Obama administration.

Germany, France and Britain all are signatories of the 2015 deal, which was meant to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

"I believe it's a good start".

He said the deal "is based on the balance of obligations" between Tehran and the opposite side, including the United States, and that after Washington's pullout "this balance is undermined", adding, "We should see how we can secure the interests of the Iranian people".

But Bolton didn't rule out sanctions for European companies doing business with Iran. Then he left Moscow for Brussels where he is slated to meet with the foreign ministers of UK, Germany, and France as well as the EU High Representative Mogherini.

"Let's not fool ourselves that there are dozens of things we can do", said a senior European diplomat.

"We are talking about solutions to keep the deal alive".

More news: Riau Police HQ Attacked by Unidentified Men

European countries and companies that continue to do business with Iran could face U.S. sanctions, National Security Adviser John Bolton said Sunday.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has already spoken with Germany's Angela Merkel and Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan about the efforts, after voicing his "deep concern" over US President's Donald Trump's decision.

Iran has described the sanctions as illegal and has warned that if talks to rescue the accord fail, it would ramp up its nuclear program to a level more advanced than before.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday that "it's possible" there will be secondary sanctions imposed on European companies as a result of the United States withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

Another possibility raised by Le Maire is a European version of U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC), which administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions.

Concern about the effects of the US decision is particularly strong in France, as many of its companies were among the first to invest in Iran after the signing of the nuclear accord.

"We have to be realistic about the electrified rail, the live wire of American extraterritoriality and how (it) can serve as a deterrent to business", Johnson told reporters.

Pre-existing U.S. sanctions against Iran have hit European Union firms, with large fines imposed since 2009 on European Union banks with USA subsidiaries, such as HSBC, Standard Chartered, ING, Barclays, Credit Suisse BNP and Lloyds.

German exports to Iran totalled almost 3 billion euros in 2017, while French exports soared from 562 million euros in 2015 to 1.5 billion in 2017 and oil giant Total has pledged to invest some $5 billion in the South Pars gas field.

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