U.S. Lambasts Europe’s ‘Paper Tiger’ Response to Iran Sanctions

(Bloomberg) -- Gordon Sondland, the U.S. ambassador to the European Union, said he’s a “little bit disappointed” with the bloc’s response to Washington’s reimposed sanctions on Iran.

“It’s breathtaking to me that although we understand there are differences with how to deal with the JCPOA between the EU and President Trump’s view, that the EU would send signals to Iran that simply give them a pass on these other activities,” Sondland said during a phone briefing, referring to the Iran nuclear deal, also known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

“The leadership of the EU is so intent on preserving the JCPOA they appear to be willing to let behavior that otherwise would not be acceptable to any sovereign” in the bloc continue, he said.

The U.S. on Monday renewed sanctions on buying Iranian oil, abandoning a 2015 nuclear deal backed by the EU. The 28-nation bloc has pledged to protect the agreement, in part by creating a so-called special purpose vehicle that would circumvent the U.S. action.

“I think the SPV is nothing more than a paper tiger,” Sondland said. “We have not heard of any serious player out there intending to avail themselves of the SPV.”

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