China and Germany Defend their Businesses with Iran

The U.S. imposed a round of sanctions against Iran that went into effect Tuesday, a move that the Trump administration hopes will further damage the Iranian economy and force concessions from Tehran.

China and Germany defended their business ties with Iran in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that any companies trading with the Islamic Republic would be barred from the United States. The comments from Beijing and Berlin caused growing anger from partners of the U.S., which reimpose stricter sanctions against the Iran, over its threat to penalize businesses from third countries that continue to work there.

The sanctions were previously lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal and severely limit Iran’s ability to buy U.S. currency and issue sovereign debt. According to Reuters, the sanctions targets Iran’s purchases in metal trading, coal, industrial software, and the auto sector.

The most significant impact of these sanctions may be the number of European companies that’ll stop doing business with Iran.

The German government said U.S. sanctions against Iran violate international law, and Germany expects Washington to consider European interests when coming up with these sanctions.

European companies have quit Iran, saying that they won’t risk their U.S. businesses.

Among those that have quit are France’s oil major Total, its big carmakers PSA, and Renault, and their German rival Daimler. Danish engineering company Haldor Topsoe said it’d cut around 200 jobs due to the new sanctions which makes it hard for its customers there to finance new projects. Turkey, however said it would continue to buy natural gas from Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that a U.S. plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero would not succeed.

U.S. officials have recently been aiming to pressure countries to stop buying oil from Iran in a bid to force Tehran to stop its nuclear and missile programs and its participation in regional conflicts in Syria and Iraq.

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