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European businesses have 'only months' to leave Iran: Bolton

John Bolton speaking at a CPAC conference last year [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 May, 2018

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The Iran hawk national security adviser said European firms would have at most six months to wind down current operations in Iran or risk sanctions.
European businesses operating in Iran will have just months to wind down their presence in the country or face US sanctions, National Security Adviser John Bolton warned.

Bolton specified that companies would face immediate sanctions for new deals and have a maximum of six months to wind down current operations in Iran. 

"No new contracts are permitted," he said, pointing to "wind down provisions" of 90-180 days for the existing contracts in impacted sectors.

Separately, the US ambassador to Germany said on Tuesday that German businesses should immediately halt their operations in Iran. 

"As @realDonaldTrump said, US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran's economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately," tweeted newly-appointed Richard Grenell.

Germany is one of Iran's largest trading partners, with German exports hitting some 2.6 billion euros in 2016, up 26 per cent on the previous year, according to the Ministry of Finance in Berlin.

Grenell, a strong Trump supporter, took up his post in Berlin on Tuesday just hours before Trump made the announcement to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord

The leaders of Britain, Germany and France had previously urged the US to refrain from taking action that prevents other signatories to the Iran nuclear deal from continuing to implement it.

Trump has said "any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could also be strongly sanctioned by the United States".

Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China have criticised Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear pact. 

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