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Monday, May 14, 2018

The US wants a new pact with Europe on Iran

Por Feco

The United States Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, assured on Sunday that he will work hard so that in the "next days and weeks" an agreement with the European allies on Iran "that really works" can be reached. As the world knows, the Obama deal reached in 2015 was broken despite the advice of allied countries.

In an interview with the conservative Fox network, Pompeo was "hopeful" in reaching a consensus - which has not been possible until now - but the same morning, the secretary of National Security, John Bolton, warned of possible sanctions against European companies doing business with Iran. Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that he was abandoning the agreement sponsored by Barack Obama for which the sanctions against Iran were lifted in exchange for the regime halting its atomic career for a decade and accepting controls in this regard. For the president, who had that agreement in his sights since he was a candidate, this was a way to give the regime economic oxygen to resume its arms race, despite all agreed inspection systems, as argued by the allies. The other five signatory powers - China, Russia, France, the United Kingdom and Germany - remain in that agreement while Washington reactivates the machinery of sanctions, which opens the question of whether the US will penalize European companies with business with Iran.

Bolton, former Ambassador to the United Nations who has always defended the hard line, limited himself to pointing out that "it is possible" and that "it depends on the behavior of other governments", some ambiguous words that only serve to clarify that the tough stance with the allies is not to be ruled out. When Pompeo was asked about the possibility of sanctions was when he stressed his intention to continue negotiating with Europe but refused to say whether there would be penalties. "The sanctions now underway have very clear requirements. My mission is to try to achieve an agreement with results that protect the United States. That is what we are going to do, and I will work hard with the Europeans in the coming days."El País recalls that in 1966, when the US passed the law that punished companies that did business with Cuba, the administration ended up exempting European firms. It is known that Iranian exports to Europe quadrupled in 2016, the year after the agreement, and in the opposite direction many European companies, such as the Airbus aircraft manufacturing consortium, are taking advantage of Iran.

Europe leaders such as German Merkel and French Macron had stated the need for Europe to stand for itself if its allies behave on their own. But we all know that in politics, what you say today may completely change by tomorrow. Many analysts just do not see how Europe could break bonds with its most powerful friend.