Jan 16, 2020 06:08 UTC
  • Days before Europeans warned Iran of nuclear deal violations, Trump threatened Europeans: Report

The administration of 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.