European officials ask US for Iran sanctions exemptions

European officials ask US for Iran sanctions exemptions
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German, French and British ministers are asking U.S. officials to protect European companies working in Iran from sanctions affecting the country, Reuters reported.

The foreign and finance ministers pointed out key areas where they expected exemptions for European Union (EU) companies in a June 4 letter, according to Reuters.

Last month, the White House announced that it would place new sanctions on Iran after President TrumpDonald TrumpRealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Jake Ellzey defeats Trump-backed candidate in Texas House runoff DOJ declines to back Mo Brooks's defense against Swalwell's Capitol riot lawsuit MORE decided to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement.


The agreement, which Germany, France and the U.K. all signed, had given Iran sanctions relief in exchange for winding down its nuclear activities.

But those countries are now worried that their companies, many of which are already doing business in Iran, could get hit.

“An Iranian withdrawal from the [nuclear agreement] would further unsettle a region where additional conflicts would be disastrous,” the ministers and the EU’s top diplomat said in a letter to the U.S. Treasury secretary and secretary of State obtained by Reuters on Wednesday.

The ministers said they expected the U.S. not to take action that would hurt the EU’s security interests, including implementing more sanctions that would prevent the EU from trying to uphold the nuclear deal on their own, Reuters reported.

“As close allies, we expect that the extraterritorial effects of U.S. secondary sanctions will not be enforced on EU entities and individuals, and the United States will thus respect our political decisions,” they wrote.

The ministers noted that the EU shared the administration’s concern about Iran’s nuclear program after 2025 when certain provisions of the deal would expire. However, they said the nuclear deal was still “the best basis on which to engage Iran and address those concerns,” according to Reuters.

They also urged the U.S. to grant exemptions to keep open financial channels with banks in Iran that are not sanctioned by the EU, Reuters reported.