The move was widely expected, and the White House immediately prepared to sanction Iran and companies that do business there.
With the United States pulling out from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the subsequent sanctions that would be imposed by Washington DC on Tehran would affect the work at Chabahar Port undertaken by India and Iran, says a defence expert.
The US says firms have six months to halt business and can not enter into new contracts or they will face sanctions.
European leaders will discuss the Iran deal and trade at a summit next week in Bulgaria where EU President Donald Tusk said Trump would “meet a united European approach”.
“We feel that the extraterritoriality of their sanction measures is unacceptable”, he told Le Parisien newspaper, vowing that European countries would “do everything to protect the interests of their companies”.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Iran will remain in the deal for the time being and indicated a willingness to respond to negotiations with the five major partners in the agreement, excluding the United States.
“The prime minister raised the potential impact of US sanctions on those firms which are now conducting business in Iran”, her spokeswoman said.
“It’s the same witches brew of bullish stuff: Iran, Venezuela, the lack of alacrity by Saudi Arabia to bring more oil onto the market”, said John Kilduff, partner at Again Capital in NY. Aside from the possibility of escalating tensions in the Middle East, we have seen oil prices soar over the past day following the announcement.
In this category, the EU, South Korea and Japan are the main sources of hard currency for Iran’s oil revenues, and the U.S. sanctions – as it was shown before the JCPOA – found their greatest impact in Europe, where buyers of Iranian crude reduced their purchase to 80 percent, the expert said, adding that similarly, Korea and Japan reduced their imports from Iran to less than 50 percent of its pre-sanction level.
“Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their pants?”
Among things the European Union could consider, he said, are reinforcing a 1996 “blocking statute” that could allow companies to ignore sanctions.
“The extent to which we can keep this deal alive.is something we need to discuss with Iran”, said Merkel, who earlier spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the issue.
Which companies could be affected?
Last week, a senior Israeli intelligence official was in Ottawa to garner support for his government’s opposition to the Iran agreement.
Aside from Airbus, they include French oil giant Total and the vehicle makers Renault and Peugeot.
“We will do the right thing”, Jeff Knittel, chairman of Airbus Americas, was quoted by Reuters as saying.
“But there are lots of other issues, not least in relation to Russian Federation still, where fundamentally the positions are the same”.
“Do we accept extraterritorial sanctions?”
What is the political “uncertainty” Mr Le Drian talks of?
Iranian hardliners are already mobilising against the government’s efforts to save the nuclear deal.
The Russian deputy foreign minister also said that the “the coalition’s air forces and Israel are now targeting the positions of Hezbollah and the IRGC in Syria”.
On Wednesday, Trudeau said the Iran nuclear deal wasn’t flawless, but it helped prevent that country from developing a nuclear weapon.
In other sectors, French carmaker PSA Peugeot Citroen agreed in 2016 to open a plant producing 200,000 vehicles annually in Iran, and says it is studying the implications of the US move.
Companies will also have to assess whether they could face revived secondary sanctions, which would target sectors of the Iranian economy, including energy, petrochemicals, shipping, financial and banking, experts say.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the penalties targeted those who had funnelled millions of dollars to the group, funding its “malign activity”.