When President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the controversial multilateral pact that was intended to delay Iran’s nuclear weaponization program, a top adviser to the government of Iran issued a threat to the West. H.J.Ansari Zarif -- the deputy for parliamentary and Iranian affairs within Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs -- threatened to expose Westerners who accepted bribes from Iran to bring the Iran deal to fruition.

For its part, the United States is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies that do business in Iran following Trump’s withdrawal from the international nuclear deal of 2015. The deal that was reached during the Obama administration with Iran, France and Germany gave the Islamic Republic relief from sanctions in exchange for halting its nuclear weaponization program. American sanctions on Iran were reimposed after Trump’s withdrawal: they block not only American firms from doing business in the Islamic Republic, but they also bar foreign firms that do business there from accessing the entire American banking and financial system.

On Sunday, U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton told CNN that “the Europeans will see that it’s in their interests to come along with us” rather than continue with the deal. Since concluding the deal, large European corporations have inked billions of dollars of contracts in Iran. When Bolton was asked whether the Trump administration would impose sanctions against European firms, Bolton said: “It’s possible. It depends on the conduct of other governments.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Fox News on Sunday that the wealth created in Iran under the terms of the nuclear deal “drove Iranian malign activity” in the region. Declining to rule out sanctions against European firms, Pompeo said, “The sanctions regime that is in place now is very clear on what the requirements are.”

French government and business have been especially concerned about the American sanctions. Petroleum giant Total last year signed a $5 billion deal to extract Iranian natural gas, while the French aviation company, Airbus, has already begun delivering jets to Iran Air under a multibillion-dollar contract.

The rhetoric from Iran may be causing further discomfort in Iran. “If Europeans stop trading with Iran and don’t put pressure on US then we will reveal which western politicians and how much money they had received during nuclear negotiations to make #IranDeal happen,” H.J.Ansari Zarif either said or wrote, according to Ramam Ghavami -- a Jerusalem Post write -- in a Twitter post.

 

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Spero News editor Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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