Echoes of Iran sanction
White House national security adviser John Bolton has gone on record to say that "it's possible" there will be secondary sanctions imposed on European companies as a result of US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal. But his veiled warning has not, in the least, scared or worried leading European powers like France and Germany. Even as the countdown for Trump's announcement had begun, the leaders of both the countries, Emanuelle Macron and Angela Merkel respectively, were in Washington the same week, hard put to get the imperious US President to enlarge but not walk away from the deal. Their efforts were in vain. After the announcement, both decided that they would go their own way. Indeed, after having put in so much effort to try and convince the US President not to do what he did, they were left with no choice but to try and bolster the alliance of the original signatories to the 2015 Iran deal without the US. As matters stand, Germany has declared there was no reason to change the Hermes export guarantee to Iran. German exports to Iran have risen to $3.75 billion. French exports to Iran were pegged at $1.78 billion. But a hopeful Bolton has said that he believes some European countries will end up supporting the United States despite comments from European leaders that they regret Trump's decision to withdraw. The hawkish Bolton did not rule out sanctions for European companies doing business with Iran. "It's possible," Bolton said. "It depends on the conduct of the governments." Bolton also reiterated the administration's objection to the sunset provisions in the Iran deal, which President Donald Trump called "totally unacceptable." According to Bolton,"It would not stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Quite the contrary, it provided cover for Iran to continue its efforts. And if it continued, it would have given Iran extraordinary economic benefits without any guarantees of Iranian performance." He added that he believes Iran "never made a strategic decision to give up nuclear weapons." Bolton said, "Its ballistic missile programme, which continued essentially unchecked, was proof that what they were seeking was delivery systems for the nuclear weapons." Asked about past comments of supporting regime change in Iran prior to joining the White House, Bolton said, "I've written and said a lot of things when I was a complete free agent." "Those were my opinions then," he added. "The circumstances I'm in now is that I'm the national security adviser to the President. I'm not the national security decision-maker. He makes the decisions, and the advice I give him is between us."