State Department official says US will take action against any company which violates sanctions against Iran
The Trump Administration “will not hesitate” to punish foreign companies which refuse to comply with US sanctions on Iran, a State Department official said Monday.
Officials from the Treasury Department and State Department have spent the past several weeks meeting with their counterparts around the globe, including in Europe, State Department Director of Policy Planning Brian Hook said, ahead of the reimposition of sanctions in early August.
“We will not hesitate to take action when we see sanctionable activity and that is consistent with our policy of economic and diplomatic isolation against Iran,” Hook said.
He said that representatives from the US Treasury and the State Department had met with representatives from countries around the world over the last few weeks.
“They haven’t been to all of Europe, but they’ve been to part of Europe,” he said. “They’ve been to Asia. Those will continue.”
“We’re in close consultation with not just Europe, but with all countries who are affected by the reimposition of our sanctions,” Hook added.
According to Hook, the first round of sanctions targeting Iran’s automobile and precious metals industries will take effect on August 4.
The sanctions are coming back because of President Trump’s decision in May to withdraw the U.S. from a 2015 deal the Obama administration reached with Iran to scale back its nuclear program in exchange for international sanctions relief.
The European nations that also signed on to the agreement — Germany, France and the United Kingdom — all pressured Trump to not pull out of the agreement, and have vowed to try and worth with Iran to keep the deal in place.
Foreign companies that delved into the Iranian market after the 2015 deal could soon face U.S. government penalties even as their home nations have remained party to the nuclear deal.
Last week, India signaled that it may comply with US sanctions on Iran’s oil industry.
Two business insiders told Reuters that the Indian Oil Ministry held a meeting with refiners Thursday in which they were told to search for alternatives to Iranian oil.
“[India] has asked refiners to be prepared for any eventuality, since the situation is still evolving. There could be drastic reduction or there could be no import at all,” said one source.
India was one of the few counties that continued to buy Iranian oil under the previous round of US and international sanctions.
In a related development, Fox News reported that the Obama administration granted citizenship to 2,500 Iranians, including family members of government officials, while negotiating the Iran nuclear deal, a senior cleric and member of parliament has claimed.
Hojjat al-Islam Mojtaba Zolnour, who is chairman of Iran’s parliamentary nuclear committee and a member of its national security and foreign affairs committee, made the allegations during an interview with the country’s Etemad newspaper, cited by the country’s Fars News agency.
He claimed it was done as a favor to senior Iranian officials linked to President Hassan Rouhani, and he alleged the move sparked a competition among Iranian officials over whose children would benefit from the scheme.
He claimed that the deal was made during negotiations for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which was reached in July 2015. President Trump announced in May that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement.
By: Gary Willig
(INN & Fox News)