Eye on Iran: U.S. Ready to Impose Sanctions on European Companies in Iran, Bolton Says

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TOP STORIES

U.S. Ready to Impose Sanctions on European Companies in Iran, Bolton Says | Wall Street Journal

National security adviser John Bolton warned Sunday that the U.S. is prepared to impose sanctions on European companies if their governments don’t heed President Donald Trump’s demand to stop dealing with Iran.

Difficult to Shield German Firms after U.S. Withdrawal From Iran Deal: Minister | Reuters

Germany wants to help its companies continue doing business in Iran after the U.S. decision to reimpose sanctions against Tehran, but it could be difficult to shield them from any fallout, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Sunday.

Rouhani Says Iran May Remain Part of Nuclear Accord | Reuters

President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Iran would remain committed to the 2015 nuclear deal if its interests were protected, while his foreign minister hoped the pact could be redesigned without Washington as a member.

UANI IN THE NEWS

Joe Lieberman, Lone Democrat at Jerusalem Event, Lauds Trump on Embassy Move, Iran Deal | Haaretz (Israel)

Former senator says he always knew moving the U.S. embassy would not lead to riots in the Arab world, and that reimposition of sanctions will put more economic pressure on Tehran… Lieberman chairs a group called United Against Nuclear Iran, an advocacy group founded in 2008 by Dennis Ross and the late Richard Holbrooke, whose goal, according to its website, is to “ensure the economic and diplomatic isolation of the Iranian regime in order to compel Iran to abandon its illegal nuclear weapons program, support for terrorism and human rights violations.” The group campaigned “very strongly” against the original agreement signed in 2015, Lieberman says, since “there was no indication this agreement would change Iranian behavior and human rights behavior.”

Joe Lieberman Applauds Trump On Embassy Move | Jerusalem Post

Lieberman, who today is the chairman of a bipartisan advocacy group called United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), said that from his perspective it seemed “weak for the US – because of political fears – to single out Israel, our close ally, as the one country in the world where we didn’t have our embassy in the city designated by the country as its capital.”

Trump Broke Iran Policy. Let Him Fix It. | UANI Senior Adviser Dennis Ross for Foreign Policy

I don’t know if U.S. President Donald Trump is a fan of the Pottery Barn rule of “you break it, you bought it.” But it now applies to his policy toward Iran.

Is Washington Too Focused on Iran's Nuclear Program? | UANI Advisory Board Member Michael Singh for Foreign Affairs

In announcing the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement, U.S. President Donald Trump made clear his disapproval of the accord and outlined a laundry list of complaints about Iranian policies. But he left perhaps the most critical question unaddressed: What, precisely, is U.S. policy toward Iran?

NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM

Trump: Iran's Military Budget Proves Nuclear Deal Was 'a Big Lie' | Hill

President Trump held up Iran's large military budget on Saturday as evidence that Tehran's commitment to a deal curbing its nuclear pursuits "was all a big lie."

Iranian Foreign Minister Visiting China, Moscow, Brussels to Discuss Nuclear Deal | Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed hope for a "clear future design" for the 2015 nuclear accord at the start of a diplomatic tour aimed at keeping the deal alive following the U.S. withdrawal.

Iran Warns of Reprisal If U.S. Doesn't Compensate for Withdrawal From Nuclear Deal | CBS News

The Iranian government is warning that it will take "whatever reciprocal measures it deems expedient" if it is not fully compensated for the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear agreement as provided for in the accord. A lengthy government statement issued Friday said the other parties to the agreement -- especially Britain, France and Germany -- must safeguard the accord, implement their commitments, and "proceed from giving pledges to taking practical action without any preconditions."

Europe Steps Up Bid to Salvage Iran Accord Ditched by Trump | Bloomberg

With Chancellor Angela Merkel warning that faith in the international order is at stake, Germany, France and the U.K. are embarking on a diplomatic mission to salvage what they can of the accord, both to keep Iran on side and to shield European companies from U.S. sanctions that threaten billions of dollars of investment.

Europe Isn’t US ‘Vassal,’ Wants to Uphold Iran Nuclear Deal [Says France] | Associated Press

France urged Europeans to stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump over the Iran nuclear deal and not act as “vassals,” as the region scrambles to save the 2015 accord and billions of dollars in trade.

UN’s Top Nuke Inspector Abruptly Quits Days After US Pulls Out of Iran Deal | New York Post

As Iran threatens to restart its nuclear program, the U.N.’s top nuclear inspector is calling it quits. The International Atomic Energy Agency didn’t give a reason for Tero Varjoranta’s exit.

Ex-Israeli PM Ehud Barak: Iran Suspects That Trump May Be Looking for an Excuse To Strike Its Nuclear Assets | CNBC

Iran is being "extremely cautious" following President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal, former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak told CNBC on Friday. With two newly installed hardliners — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton — driving Trump's foreign policy, Iran worries that the United States may be looking for an excuse to strike militarily, Barak said on "Squawk Box."

Obama's Iran deal Is Finally Where It Should Be — Dead | Former U.S. Sen. Norm Coleman for the Hill

A continued military buildup, with massive investments in ballistic missile technology capable of carrying nuclear weapons by Iran should have been enough to jettison the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)” negotiated by Obama… President Trump should be applauded for finally declaring the JCPOA what it should have been called in the first place: DOA.

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS

Europeans Move to Protect Firms from Renewed U.S. Sanctions on Iran | Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty

European nations are moving to protect their companies from a resumption of stiff U.S. sanctions on firms doing business in Iran, in a critical part of their bid to keep the Iranian nuclear deal alive and ensure it continues to benefit Iran's economy.

Washington’s Strict New Policy on Iran Could Test Ties with Allies | Wall Street Journal

The Trump administration’s decision last week to pull out of the nuclear deal with Iran will create an economic policy challenge for the U.S.: How does it enforce sanctions that the rest of the world no longer backs?

Iran Sanctions Will Create a ‘Disruption’ in the Oil Price and Uncertainty for Investments, Eni CEO Warns | CNBC

Italian oil and gas giant ENI may not have any investments in Iran, but its CEO Claudio Descalzi sees disruption ahead for oil markets thanks to the reimposition of U.S. sanctions on OPEC's third-largest oil producer.

Boeing Claims Iran Sanctions Won’t Affect Its Production Pipeline | CNBC

Boeing's top executive in the Middle East said the company's conservative strategy will protect it from any loss of business with Iran. Boeing is playing down an estimated loss of $20 billion of sales to Iranian airlines after the U.S. moved to withdraw from a nuclear pact and re-impose sanctions on Tehran. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin announced Wednesday that Boeing licenses to sell aircraft to Iran would be revoked following President Donald Trump's decision.

Indiana Never Dropped State-level Sanctions on Iran Despite Nuclear Deal | The Times of Northwest Indiana

As the federal government takes steps to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran for allegedly cheating on the 2015 deal that temporarily halted its development of a nuclear weapon, officials in the Hoosier State won't be required to do the same. That's because Indiana never lifted its Iran sanctions.

OPEC's Output Deal Will Shrug Off Iran Sanctions | Julian Lee for Bloomberg

President Donald Trump’s decision to tear up the Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on buyers of its oil will have a big impact on Iran’s crude exports, but don’t expect it to imperil the output deal among OPEC and its friends.

Oil Slips As OPEC Seen Able to Offset Iran Losses From Sanctions | Bloomberg

Oil held losses below $71 as OPEC signaled it could fill in any supply gap if renewed U.S. sanctions curtail supply from Iran, the group’s third-largest producer.

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS

Bolton: 'Regime Change' in Iran Not Policy of Trump Administration | Reuters

White House national security adviser John Bolton, who has in the past suggested the U.S. government should push for a change in government in Iran, said on Sunday that is not the Trump administration’s current policy. “That’s not the policy of the administration. The policy of the administration is to make sure that Iran never gets close to deliverable nuclear weapons,” Bolton said on the ABC program “This Week.”

Will the End of the Iran Deal Mark the Beginning of an Iran Strategy? | John Hannah for Foreign Policy

The time is ripe for a U.S. approach based on pushing Iranian domestic politics into crisis.

SYRIA, RUSSIA, ISRAEL & IRAN

In Syria, an Accidental Bulwark against Iran Shows Confusion of Trump Policy | The Washington Post

The fate of a remote U.S. military base in southern Syria captures the contradictions at the heart of President Trump’s Iran policy. The tiny outpost at Tanf, surrounded by vast desert, was established during the battle against the Islamic State. But its purpose changed last year when Iranian-backed forces began bearing down on the isolated garrison.

Tougher Israeli Posture in Syria Tests Russia-Iran Alliance | Wall Street Journal

The Kremlin’s military alliance with Tehran in Syria is showing cracks after fierce Israeli strikes against Iranian forces, testing the limits of the relationship.

Before and After Images Show Israeli Strike on Iranian Base | Jerusalem Post

New satellite images of Damascus International Airport near the Syrian capital showed extensive damage following Israeli airstrikes against Iranian targets earlier in the week.

Iran Cleric Threatens Destruction of Israeli Cities | Associated Press

A prominent Iranian cleric on Friday threatened two Israeli cities with destruction if the Jewish state “acts foolishly” and attacks its interests again, while thousands of protesters demonstrated against President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal with world powers.

Iran Says Trump 'Feeble-minded' for Jerusalem Embassy Move | Agence France-Presse

Iran denounced President Donald Trump as "feeble-minded" over Monday's controversial move of the US embassy to Jerusalem, calling for resistance from the Palestinians and the international community.

CHINA & IRAN

China’s New Train Line to Iran Sends Message to Trump: We’ll Keep Trading Anyway | Washington Posy

While the United States is now urging foreign companies to wind down their operations in Iran, China appears to be doing the opposite. Thursday’s launch of a freight train connection was only the latest measure that Beijing has taken to intensify trade relations with Iran, and there seem to be no plans so far to give in to U.S. demands.

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

White House Calls on Qatar to Stop Funding Pro-Iranian Militias | Telegraph (U.K.)

The Trump administration has called on Qatar to stop funding pro-Iranian militias following revelations about the Gulf state’s dealings with terror groups in the Middle East.

IRAQ & IRAN

Old U.S. Nemesis Muqtada al-Sadr and Iran Ally Fatah Fare Well in Iraq Vote | CBS and Associated Press

The political coalition of influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr took an early lead in Iraq's national elections in partial returns announced late Sunday by the Iraqi electoral commission. An alliance of candidates linked to Iraq's powerful Shiite paramilitary groups was in second.

CYBERWARFARE

Without Nuclear Deal, US Expects Resurgence in Iranian Cyberattacks | The New York Times

Government and private-sector cybersecurity experts in the United States and Israel worry that President Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal this week will lead to a surge in retaliatory cyberattacks from Iran.