News ID: 230489
Published: 0146 GMT August 28, 2018

Senior US congressional official: Europeans choose Iran over US

Senior US congressional official: Europeans choose Iran over US

Europeans have made a deliberate decision to choose Iran over the United States, said a senior congressional official, speaking only on background.

“A few months ago, the Europeans could have gone either way, but now it’s pretty clear they’ve made a deliberate decision to choose Iran over us just so they can make a few extra million dollars,” the official told the Washington Free Beacon.

“We’re not going to tell any other country what to do, but it’s poisoning their relationships on the Hill, and not just with Republicans.”

Congress is also keeping a close eye on the latest developments with senior officials telling the Free Beacon that continued European outreach to Iran is “poisoning” ties with the United States.

Richard Goldberg, a senior adviser at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, who works on Iran sanctions issues, told the Free Beacon that Iran is already feeling the weight of the new US sanctions ahead of the second implementation date, on Nov. 4.

Iranian leaders and their European counterparts are scrambling to save the landmark nuclear deal.

Ove the weekend, the European Union gifted Iran a $21-million financial package ahead of the reimposition of US sanctions.

Top Iranian officials held a series of phone calls with their European counterparts over the weekend to plot avenues for skirting the new US sanctions and keeping the nuclear agreement intact following President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw America from its commitments under the deal.

US officials in Congress and the Trump administration have been tracking the situation closely and say they will not permit Europe to avoid new US sanctions, which could target any domestic and foreign entity that continues doing business with Iran.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani worked on Monday to convince European nations to uphold the agreement and continue working with Tehran, lobbying that has paid off as countries such as France and Germany continue efforts to skirt the new US sanctions.

In a call with French President Emanuel Macron on Monday, Rouhani urged European countries to more speedily work to uphold the nuclear deal and carve-outs promoting increased business ties with Iran.

“Iran has acted upon all its undertakings based on the nuclear deal, and given the US unilateral withdrawal from the agreement, it expects the other sides to implement their plans to maintain the agreement more rapidly and clearly,” Rouhani was quoted as saying in the call, according to reports in Iran’s media.

Rouhani issued a veiled warning that if these countries fail to uphold the nuclear agreement, Iran will adopt other measures, though it remains unclear what options Iran has.

On the heels of the EU’s $21-million aid package to Iran, top State Department official Brian Hook chastised these governments.

The cash package “between Iran and Europe sends the wrong message at the wrong time,” said Hook.



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