‘US taking other nations hostage over Iran sanctions' – Ex EU-Commissioner Guenter Verheugen

As Washington has warned European companies against doing business in Iran following its withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the EU triggered a mechanism said to “neutralise” the impact of US sanctions. Former vice-president of the European Commission Guenter Verheugen joins SophieCo to discuss the rift between the allies and the consequences of the US exit from the agreement. 

European companies “haven’t much choice,” given the benefits they receive from doing business in the US, rather than in Iran. “The American policy of taking hostage other nations [sic] and companies can be successful in the end,” Verheugen says, adding the EU has “no real defence against it.”

 “It’s obvious that the partnership between the United States and the European Union is entering a new age,” the former commissioner says. “The EU-US axis was a guarantor of peace and stability not only in Europe, but in other regions as well.” If it disappears, “the world will come closer to the final conflict,” Verheugen says. And the Europeans should be aware that “the America First policy” won’t end with Trump’s presidency, which is “representing America much more than Obama” did.

 As for the Iran deal, Verheugen says while it can survive without the US, the pact and the “whole system of non-proliferation” is in jeopardy. For that reason, the remaining signatories, the UK, Germany, France, Russia and China need to “organise cooperation” and “create a counterweight.” Tune in for the full episode of SophieCo with Guenter Verheugen.