Russian MP blasts US sanction threats against EU firms over Iran ties as blackmail

TASS– Threats by US administration representatives to impose sanctions against European companies for cooperation with Iran are nothing more than flagrant and unabashed blackmail, Chairman of the State Duma Committee for Foreign Affairs Leonid Slutsky said on Monday.

Earlier, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused European countries of rejecting the US demand to revise the Iran nuclear deal. He said the United Kingdom, Germany and France had 90 more days to reach an agreement on Iran’s nuclear program. Trump’s new national security adviser John Bolton did not rule out that sanctions might be slapped on EU firms for cooperating with Tehran.

“US threats to impose sanctions against EU companies for cooperation with Tehran look like flagrant and unabashed blackmail. The US, which violated all its international commitments, now in fact through threats and ultimatums is forcing its European partners to choose the same irresponsible path,” Slutsky told reporters.

According to the lawmaker, ditching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was approved by the UN resolution, would upset the balance on the Iranian nuclear program. “In the end, this may trigger very dangerous consequences, which go far beyond the region,” Slutsky warned.

“Washington is trying to impose its own will not only on mythical adversaries but also on its allies,” he noted. “This is an absolutely destructive line which the US has used on its Russian track, unfortunately, when the EU at the expense of its own economic interests was forced to back US sanctions.”

In Tehran’s case, even if Washington manages to “twist Europe’s arms and press through a “good deal” named after Trump, there are no guarantees that Iran will agree to sign a new accord,” he said. “There is only hope that the European troika (Germany, the United Kingdom and France) will be wise and firm.”

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington quit the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal as it provides Iran with opportunities for creating a nuclear bomb by evading all current restrictions under the agreement and added that another deal should be signed with Tehran.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iran nuclear deal, was signed between Iran and six international mediators (the P5+1, the United Kingdom, China, Russia, the United States, France, and Germany) on July 14, 2015. On January 16, 2016, the parties to the deal announced the beginning of its implementation. Under the deal, Iran embarked on curbing its nuclear activities and placed them under total control of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in exchange for lifting the sanctions imposed previously by the United Nations Security Council, the European Union and the United States over its nuclear program.