White House Open to Sanctioning European Companies That Do Business With Iran

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Since the deal went into effect in 2016, lifting some sanctions in exchange for Iran opening up its nuclear facilities for inspections and accepting limits on its enrichment of uranium, Europe-Iran trade has mushroomed and companies based in the European Union have signed deals worth billions of dollars with Tehran.

On Sunday, John Bolton, National Security Adviser, appeared on the CNN's State of The Union and hinted that the USA wouldn't think twice about imposing sanctions on its allies if they continue to help Iran.

Speaking in an interview with CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Bolton did not rule out sanctioning European entities trading with Iran several days after President Donald Trump pulled the USA out of the Iran nuclear deal.

Asked if Washington was now advocating for regime change in Iran, Bolton responded that it was not administration policy.

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Bolton, who has in political circles, a reputation as a "hawk" claimed that USA sanctions will be a decisive argument and convince Europe to reconsider a deal with Iran.

Pompeo also stated that he "thought that they behaved with impunity", and that the JCPOA did not hold Iran back from meddling in other regional countries. After years of crippling economic sanctions, the deal opened Iran to business with the U.S. and Europe, and companies around the world began doing business in Iran. But in an interview aired on the ABC's "This Week" program, Bolton said, "That's not the policy of the administration".

The exit drew swift criticism from the deal's other signatories, including US allies in Europe who'd tried for weeks to convince Trump to remain on board and said they plan to keep their commitment to the deal.

"I am hopeful in the days and weeks ahead we can come up with a deal that really works, that really protects the world from Iranian bad behavior", Pompeo said.

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Iran's government must decide whether to follow the United States and withdraw or try to salvage what's left with the Europeans. Trump had said any country that helps Iran obtain nuclear weapons would also be "strongly sanctioned".

"I think [Iranian President Hassan] Rouhani and [Iraniani Foreign Minister Javad] Zarif need to explain why it's the case that while this agreement was in place Iran continued its march across the Middle East", Pompeo added. "He makes the decisions, and the advice I give him is between us". "I think that will sink in; we'll see what happens then", Bolton said.

"My mission that I've been given by President Trump is to work to strike a deal that achieves the outcomes that protect America", he said. "Any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States", the president said.

Others were dubious that withdrawing from the nuclear deal would prove effective, particularly since it shattered an worldwide alliance that worked to negotiate the deal with Iran.

Bolton struck a more hawkish tone with his comments in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union" program than Pompeo did when he was interviewed on "Fox News Sunday".

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"I think at the moment there's some feeling in Europe - they're really surprised we got out of it, really surprised at the reimposition of strict sanctions". "Those are the kinds of things that if we get what it is the president has demanded, the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization of North Korea that the American people will offer in spades".

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