The Trump Administration is closely monitoring efforts in Europe to set up an alternative money payment channel to ease doing business with Iran and avoid running afoul of sanctions the US has levied on the Islamic republic.
The White House has put the Europeans on notice, saying that if they try to do an end-run around US sanctions on Iran, they will be subject to stiff fines and penalties.
But, the EU is moving forward with the plan, which, if implemented, could further strain its relations with the US.
German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Monday that the EU was on the verge of setting up the alternative channel to send money to Iran that would side-step US sanctions on Tehran. He said Germany had been working on it in recent months with Britain, France and other EU partners.
“This has always been our goal and we will implement it,” Mr. Maas said.
The EU has struggled to keep alive the Iran nuclear deal since President Donald Trump pulled out of it last year. The bloc has already introduced measures to stop European companies from complying with the US sanctions without authorization from Brussels.
Getting out ahead of a possible announcement, a senior Trump Administration official said Friday that the US will fully enforce its sanctions and hold individuals and entities accountable for undermining them.
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