President Trump on Wednesday stoked divisions in Europe by wading into the middle of an intense fight over the Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline, a project that critics fear will give Moscow new leverage in the region and could create a geopolitically dangerous Russian-German economic alliance.
Top Trump administration officials are working to stop Germany from allowing Iran to fly more than $350 million in cash out of the country and back to Tehran as part of a bid by the Iranian regime to restock its coffers ahead of a major financial crackdown by America, according to conversations with senior U.S. diplomats and officials on Capitol Hill.
Following through on President Trump’s promise to squeeze Iran as he took the U.S. out of the 2015 nuclear deal, the Trump administration on Tuesday announced details on new sanctions that will pressure countries from Europe to Asia to slash imports of Iranian oil to zero by Nov. 4, giving allies no wiggle room to deal with Tehran.
It has driven a wedge between America and its allies, given Russia a chance to put a stranglehold on European energy markets and may even threaten U.S. national security, some observers suggest, by potentially doubling as a spy device.
European signatories to a nuclear deal with Iran have written to top U.S. officials to stress their commitment to upholding the pact, which Washington has quit, and to urge the United States to spare EU firms active in Iran from secondary sanctions.