Press TV – The administration of the US President Donald Trump has reportedly threatened France, Britain and Germany to accuse Iran of breaking the 2015 nuclear deal or face tariffs on their auto sector.
The Washington Post reported on Wednesday that the administration issued the warning one week before a dispute mechanism in the deal was triggered that could see the whole agreement unravel.
The US had warned the trio that they could be slapped a 25 percent tariff on their car imports if they refuse to do so, the report said quoting European officials familiar with the conversations.
The report said European officials complained privately that Trump’s threat complicated their decision to invoke the dispute mechanism though they had mulled it over.
Some officials in the three countries said they were afraid they could be viewed as “stooges” of Washington if word of the threat was leaked.
A move one European official equated Trump’s threat to “extortion,” which represents a new level of hardball tactics with America’s oldest allies.
“The tariff threat is a mafia-like tactic, and it’s not how relations between allies typically work,” said Jeremy Shapiro, research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations.
The US under Trump left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018 and restored the sanctions that it had lifted. The UK, France, and Germany also bowed to the sanctions and refused to meet Iran’s business interests under the deal despite an earlier pledge to do so.
Trump has been critical of the agreement and called it the worst deal ever negotiated, proposing new negotiations to reach a “better” accord.
This comes as the JCPOA has been endorsed by the UN Security Council as a resolution.
In a tweet on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reacted to a recent decision by the Europeans to trigger a dispute mechanism under the JCPOA to allegedly save it, saying JCPOA’s future depends on the E3, not Iran.
He criticized the three European parties — UK, France and Germany — for bowing to US pressures and violating their obligations under the agreement, saying the survival of the deal depends on the actions of the EU3 not Iran.
“E3’s response to US attack on JCPOA has been to cut trade/investment in Iran while embargoing our oil,” he tweeted.
“Told #Raisina2020 it’s sad that biggest economy has allowed itself to be bullied into violating own obligations. JCPOA’s future depends on E3, not Iran,” he added.
Britain, France, and Germany, on Tuesday formally triggered a dispute settlement mechanism featured in the JCPOA, a step that could lead to the restoration of UN sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
In a joint statement, they said the mechanism was activated in response to what they claimed to be Iran’s repeated violations of the nuclear deal.
One year after Trump left the JCPOA, Iran began suspending some of its commitments under the JCPAO in response to US sanctions and measures to prevent Tehran from reaping the benefits of the deal as well as in reaction to the Europeans’ failure to shield business and trade with Tehran in the face of Washington’s pressures.
Tehran has, however, reminded that all its retaliatory steps fitted within Article 35 and 36 of the JCPOA, and that its countermeasures are “reversible” upon effective implementation of reciprocal obligations.