British firms trading with Iran will face sanctions

British firms trading with Iran could be slapped with punitive sanctions within weeks after Donald Trump rebuffed their pleas for exemptions.

The US President pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal – which eased sanctions on Tehran in return for a stop to their nuclear programme – earlier this year.

The EU had lobbied the White House to exempt European companies from the hefty levies, which are set to be put on firms trading in the Middle East country.

But American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US rejected the appeal because it wants to exert the maximum pressure possible on Iran.

Britain and the rest of the EU fear that billions of dollars’ worth of trade could be lost because of the tough new measures.

In a letter Mr Pompeo said: ‘We will seek to provide unprecedented financial pressure on the Iranian regime.

It added that the US is ‘not in a position to make exceptions to this policy except in very specific circumstances’.

The US President tore up the nuclear deal in May after branding it the ‘worst deal in history’.

But Britain and other EU countries have tried to salvage the pact and said they are still committed to it.

Many British firms swooped in to do lucrative business with Iran after the pact was signed in 2015.

In 2017, the EU exported £9.5billion worth of goods and services to Iran, according to the BBC.

But now British businesses are worried that their lucrative trade with the United States could be harmed if they continue to work with Iran.

Earlier this year, the EU began bringing in legislation which the bloc says would allow its companies to continue doing business with Iran.

This ‘blocking statute’ was introduced in 1996 to get around US sanctions on Cuba, although it was never actually used.

An updated version of the measure should be in force before 6 August, when the first sanctions take effect.

Source » dailymail

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