US President Donald Trump holds an executive order imposing fresh sanctions on Iran, in the Oval Office of the White House. (Oliver Contreras/for The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Trump Administration Said Seething over EU Refusal to Sanction Iran

The Trump Administration is reportedly furious with the European Union for refusing to apply economic pressure on Iran in the wake of numerous breaches of the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal. “We have repeatedly asked the EU and the [United Kingdom] to match our sanctions on the Iranian regime, particularly on Iran’s nuclear and missile program, but also on terrorist proxies,” a State Department official was quoted by the media as saying. “But there is still great fear… that sanctioning Iran will jeopardize the deal,” the source added, noting that Brexit may have opened the door to swaying the British government. The apparent growing disconnect between Washington and Brussels comes just weeks after Britain, France and Germany – parties to the accord along with Russia and China – triggered the nuclear pact’s dispute resolution mechanism in response to Iran having vastly expanded its atomic activities. Specifically, Tehran has increased the size of its stockpile of low-enriched uranium to a level that some experts believe is sufficient to create a nuclear weapon, although the substance would need to be further refined to weapons-grade purity. “At some point, someone in Europe needs to stand up and say Iran is not our friend, America is our strongest ally, and we are going to do what we can to stop the mullahs from building nuclear weapons with long-range missiles to hit London,” the State Department official said. In May 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the deal and reimposed economic sanctions against Iran. On Wednesday night, the US leader, apparently without having coordinated the move with Brussels, announced the suspension of all incoming travel from Europe – with the exception of the UK – for the next 30 days over coronavirus fears.

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