The UK, France and Germany have joined forces to urge the United States to exempt European companies from any sanctions the US will slap on Iran after pulling out of an international nuclear agreement.
In a letter to US treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin and secretary of state Mike Pompeo, ministers from the three European countries, including Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, said they “strongly regret” President Donald Trump’s decision last month to withdraw from the Iran deal.
Mr Trump has said sanctions will be imposed on any company doing business with Tehran.
In their letter, the ministers said that “as close allies we expect that the extraterritorial effects of US secondary sanctions will not be enforced on EU entities and individuals, and the United States will thus respect our political decision and the good faith of economic operators within EU legal territory”.
The ministers, including French finance minister Bruno Le Maire and his German counterpart Olaf Scholz, said they want the US to “grant exemptions” for EU companies that have been doing business with Iran since the deal came into force in 2016.
They also said Iran should not be cut out of the SWIFT system for international money transfers.
Many companies from Europe and the US have been steadily building up their investments in Iran in the past few years in the wake of the nuclear deal, particularly in the fields of pharmaceuticals, banking and oil.
Mr Le Maire tweeted that EU businesses “must be able to pursue their activities”.