The Trump administration is closely eyeing efforts in Europe to set up an alternative money payment channel to ease doing business with Iran and avoid running afoul of sanctions the U.S. has levied on the Islamic republic.
The White House is putting the Europeans on notice, saying that if they try to do an end-run around U.S. sanctions on Iran, they will be subject to stiff fines and penalties. Unfazed, the European Union is marching forward with the plan, which, if implemented, could further strain trans-Atlantic relations.
A spokeswoman for EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said preparations for the alternative system were “at an advanced stage.”
“I hope that we can announce the launch very soon,” Maja Kocijancic told reporters late last week in Brussels.
Getting out ahead of a possible announcement, a senior administration official told The Associated Press on Friday that the U.S. will fully enforce its sanctions and hold individuals and entities accountable for undermining them. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the issue.
“The choice is whether to do business with Iran or the United States,” Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., told the AP. “I hope our European allies choose wisely.”