While Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin says that exemptions from US sanctions against Iran will be considered in certain cases, the European Union is apparently not going to be one of them. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo confirmed that he has rejected EU appeals for Iran exemptions.
Senior officials from Britain, France, and Germany have all urged the US not to apply the sanctions to EU nations’ companies when they start going into effect next month. The EU has passed laws rejecting US sanctions, and forbidding their companies from complying with them.
Pompeo and Mnuchin told the EU, however, that they want “unprecedented financial pressure” on Iran, and that they will not ease any sanctions until they see a tangible change in Iranian policy.
Mnuchin says that exemptions are only possible in “very specific circumstances where it clearly benefits our national security.” He suggested nations that need more time to wind down oil purchases from Iran could be given more time, for instance.
India is expected to push hard for such measures, or barring that a move by the US to release oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to keep oil prices from sky-rocketing when Iran is cut off.