13:29 GMT +317 August 2019
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    In this April 4, 2015 file photo, Iranian and U.S. banknotes are on display at a currency exchange shop in downtown Tehran, Iran

    Any Major EU Company Will Always Choose America - US Envoy on Iran Sanctions

    © AP Photo / Vahid Salemi
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    Donald Trump's pull-out from the 2015 Iran nuke deal has been criticised by the remaining deal signatories, including the European Union, which has proposed a special mechanism to sustain trade with Iran despite US sanctions.

    Brian Hook, U.S. Special Representative for Iran, has admonished European banks and firms against doing business with the Islamic Republic, citing the risk of newly re-instated American sanctions.

    "European banks and European companies know that we will vigorously enforce sanctions against this brutal and violent regime," Hook said on Thursday, as quoted by Reuters. "Any major European company will always choose the American market over the Iranian market."

    His remark came in an apparent response to plans by European diplomats to set up the so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), which would facilitate trade between European companies and Iran through a barter exchange operated in euros and thus unaffected by US dollar-denominated sanctions.

    EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has asked several states to host the mechanism but no one has come forward so far, for fear of putting local banks at risk of facing US punishment.

    READ MORE: Plan to Bypass Anti-Iranian Sanctions at Risk as EU Members Fear US Vendetta

    However, according to European Justice Commissioner Vera Jourova, the bloc has not given up on its attempts to keep Iran within the collapsing deal. "We Europeans cannot accept that a foreign power, not even our closest friend and ally, takes decisions over our legitimate trade with another country," she told the EU lawmakers.

    In May, Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially referred to as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The accord, brokered under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for the removal of economic sanctions.

    However, Trump claimed that the agreement was "poorly negotiated" and that it allowed Tehran to continue enriching uranium, as it was allegedly pursuing nuclear weapons. He moved to ratchet up pressure on Iran by re-imposing crippling economic sanctions on the country and companies doing business with it.

    However, the other signatories to the deal: Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the European Union, denounced the US withdrawal and pledged to stick to the agreement.


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    nuclear deal, sanctions, special-purpose vehicle (SPV), European Union, Donald Trump, Brian Hook, Iran, United States
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