German Defense Minister Confirms Trump's Tariff Threat over Iran
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The German Defense Minister on Thursday confirmed a report that the United States was threatening to impose a 25 per cent tariff on European auto exports if it continued backing the Iran nuclear deal.
"This expression or threat, as you will, does exist," Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told a news conference during a visit to London after a report in the Washington Post newspaper.
The US daily said that US President Donald Trump threatened to impose the tariffs if Britain, France and Germany did not formally accuse Tehran of flouting the 2015 nuclear deal.
The minister didn't elaborate about exactly when the threat was expressed, but stressed that Germany will not support Washington’s policy of "maximum pressure" against Iran.
US media outlets previously reported that Trump had demanded his European colleagues boost their pressure on Iran to seek a new deal concerning its nuclear program, threatening to introduce additional punitive economic measures against the EU otherwise.
The three European signatories to the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), namely the UK, Germany, and France, initiated the dispute mechanism on 14 January.
China, the United States and Russia were also signatories to the agreement but Trump in May 2018 unilaterally pulled the United States out and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.
In response to the move, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments four times in compliance with Articles 26 and 36, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as Europe finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the sanctions.
Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the JCPOA after the US withdrawal, but the three EU parties to the deal have failed to ensure Iran’s economic interests.
The EU’s inaction forced Tehran to stop honoring certain commitments to the nuclear deal.
Iran maintains that the new measures are not designed to harm the JCPOA but to save the accord by creating a balance in the commitments.