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US Rejects European Bid for Iran Waivers

US Rejects European Bid for Iran WaiversUS Rejects European Bid for Iran Waivers

US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin rejected a request from European leaders for broad-based waivers from sanctions the US will reimpose on countries that do business with Iran after US President Donald Trump backed out of the 2015 nuclear accord.

In a letter whose contents were described to Bloomberg News, Pompeo and Mnuchin told the finance and foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany that the US is seeking to apply “unprecedented financial pressure” on Iran now that Washington has quit the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and won’t relent until it sees a “tangible, demonstrable and sustained shift” in Iran’s policies.

“The president withdrew from the JCPOA for a simple reason—it failed to guarantee the safety of the American people,” Pompeo and Mnuchin wrote in the letter, which was not dated.

“We are thus not in a position to make exceptions to this policy except in very specific circumstances where it clearly benefits our national security.”

The letter came after France, Germany and Britain last month said they “strongly regret” the US decision to withdraw, saying they expect a host of exemptions, including assurances that “extraterritorial effects” of secondary US sanctions won’t be applied to EU entities and individuals.

While the US has sought to get allies to end all imports of Iranian oil by a Nov. 4 deadline, it has not ruled out the use of waivers in certain circumstances.

While the other countries that reached the nuclear agreement with Iran—the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China—have said they will continue to honor the deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran’s nuclear program, the US withdrawal may pose strong challenges.

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