US Could Sanction European Countries Over Iran, Bolton says

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On May 9, President Trump announced the USA withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or the Iran nuclear deal which limited the country's uranium enrichment in exchange for sanctions relief.

Macron and Trump spoke by phone on Saturday, with the U.S. president urging "the need for a comprehensive deal that addresses all aspects of Iran's destabilizing activities in the Middle East", according to a White House readout of the call.

When pressed by CNN on whether the Trump administration would sanction European firms that continue to do business with Iran, Bolton said, "I think the Europeans will see that it's in their interest ultimately to come along with us".

The meeting was held amid fears that European companies may face reprisals from the USA for breaching American sanctions by continuing to operate in Iran.

He said that he spoke to US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to request exceptions for French companies, a delay in implementing sanctions, and a so-called grandfather clause for companies that invested in Iran while the treaty was in place. "It depends on the conduct of other governments".

Putin has already spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan about efforts to save the accord, after voicing his "deep concern" over Trump's decision.

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Trump directed his administration to "immediately begin the process of re-imposing sanctions" related to the deal, a White House statement said.

"I'm not the national security decision-maker", Bolton said, adding that Trump "makes the decision and the advice that I give him is between us".

MOSCOW, Russia - Iran's foreign minister was in Moscow on Monday, May 14, as Russia tries to keep the Iran nuclear deal alive in the wake of Washington's pull-out, pushing it into rare cooperation with Europe.

Iran's talks with European countries to save the nuclear deal are on the right path despite the United States withdrawal, its foreign minister said after meeting the European Union's foreign policy chief on Tuesday.

A French government official told reporters earlier this week that the USA practice of punishing foreign companies operating in foreign countries like Iran "is a real problem".

After long negotiations, Iran had agreed in July 2015 to freeze its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of punishing worldwide sanctions. "He's talked about it with Prime Minister May, not just Iran's nuclear threat now, the threat in the future, the ballistic missile programs, and the instability that Iran is causing around the region", Bolton said.

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It follows a visit by the Iranian diplomat to Beijing on Sunday where he stressed the importance of keeping the accords, which were signed in 2015 with the aim of both halting Tehran's nuclear ambitions and stimulating the country's economy.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Friday on Europe-1 radio that Europe should not accept that the U.S.is the "world's economic policeman".

As he arrived in Beijing, Zarif said Tehran was "ready for all option [s]", according to the semi-official ISNA news agency.

Israel said it had attacked almost all of Iran's military infrastructure in Syria yesterday after Iranian forces allegedly fired rockets at Israeli-held territory for the first time.

She said Iran and the Europeans will be working over the coming weeks to find practical solutions which will include continuing to sell Iran's oil and gas products, maintaining effective banking transactions and protecting European investments in Iran.

Iran has reacted furiously to the USA pulling out of the deal, with supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accusing Mr Trump of threatening its government and its people.

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"So at the moment, there's some feeling in Europe that they're really surprised we got out of it, really surprised at the reimposition of strict sanctions", Bolton said.

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