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    Iran Nuclear Deal Tag

    A leading Chinese bank, which acted as the main conduit for payments to Iran, is halting financial transactions with the Islamic Republic, Reuters news agency reports. The state-owned Bank of Kunlun's decision was made "under pressure" of impending U.S. sanctions due to take effect early November, news reports disclose. The halting of transactions spells trouble for Iran's commercial ties to China, the country's biggest oil consumer. The Bank of Kunlun is controlled by China's state-owned energy group CNPC, a company running multi-billion dollar gas exploration projects in Iran.

    A German court has ordered the extradition of an Iranian diplomat suspected of involvement in a bomb plot over to Belgium, German media reported. Assadollah Assadi, a diplomat posted to Vienna, was arrested by German police in early July for planning an attack on an Iranian opposition rally in France. The event organized by an exiled Iranian opposition group was attended by several prominent figures, including former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

    Former Secretary of State John Kerry recently admitted that he has had meetings with officials from Iran since leaving office. One of the points Kerry relayed to them was that they should wait out the Trump presidency. It's nearly impossible to imagine the firestorm this would set off among Democrats and the media if a former Bush official had done this to Obama.

    With US sanctions biting deep into Iran's economy, country's theocratic leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has admitted that European countries cannot to save the 2015 nuclear deal, Reuters news agency reported.

    "There is no problem with negotiations and keeping contact with the Europeans, but you should give up hope on them over economic issues or the nuclear deal," Khamenei told President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet on Wednesday.

    Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, has revised its regulations to stop Iran from withdrawing €320 million ($400 million) in cash from the country's bank accounts. Under the new conditions, the Bundesbank can stop cash transfers that violate US Treasury sanctions, the German newspaper BILD disclosed. The drastic measure to physically ship the cash out of Germany demonstrates Tehran's demising trust in the European financial institutions as the US Treasury tightens screws on the regime's worldwide financial operations. The transaction is "one of the largest cash transfers ever in German history," a spokesman for the country's finance minister admitted.

    The European Union has called on the U.S. not to punish European firms that trade with Iran, German daily Die Welt reported Thursday. In a letter to the U.S. officials, the EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini "appealed to the U.S. not to undertake any action" against European companies likely hit by U.S. sanctions following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal last month. The letter addressed to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin was also signed by foreign and finance ministers from Germany, France, and Britain, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle disclosed. According to media reports, President Trump is considering imposing secondary sanctions against foreign companies which continue doing business with Iran.

    Holy cow. The Associated Press has reported that former President Barack Obama's administration attempted to give Iran access to U.S. banks despite sanctions in place and lied to Congress about said plans. In 2016, a license issued by the Treasury Department gave Iran permission "to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars."

    Iran has been trying to acquire foreign technology to build nuclear weapons, German intelligence reveals. Tehran has been targeting Germany's technology sector to get hold of tech in order to upgrade its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) program, a report published by the intelligence agency of the German state of Baden-Württemberg indicates. The southwestern German state is home to several leading global technology and engineering companies.

    European companies are leaving the Islamic Republic of Iran in droves fearing U.S. sanctions after President Donald Trump's decided to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal earlier this month. The regime in Tehran is "particularly concerned by the decisions of various European companies to halt their Iranian operations until the future of sanctions was clear," several German newspapers reported on Monday. "The cascade of decisions by EU companies to end their activities in Iran makes things much more complicated," Iranian Foreign Minister said. The statement comes days after the French oil company Total pulled out $5 billion worth of investments from the country fearing U.S. sanctions.

    Ismail Kowsari, a senior officer in Iran's Revolutionary Guard, lashed out at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's vow to impose strong sanctions on the regime. From NBC News:
    "The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American secretary of state and anyone who backs them," said Kowsari, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.
    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also mocked Pompeo, asking, "Who are you" to make decisions for Iran while a member of parliament insisted the regime shouldn't play into "U.S. radicalism."

    The European Union is considering laws to protect European companies trading with Iran in the wake of new U.S. sanctions. The EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced plans to enact a set of laws that "seek to prevent European companies from complying with any sanctions the US may reintroduce against Iran," Germany's state-run broadcaster Deutsche Welle reported on Friday.

    President Donald Trump's decision last week to withdraw the United States from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) has occasioned a lot of hand-wringing by his critics (and by fans of his predecessor Barack Obama). After all, the storyline goes Iran was adhering to the deal, so the United States was damaging its credibility by trashing a deal that it had entered into. Of course, that doesn't tell the whole story. President Obama, knowing that he couldn't sell the deal to the American people and their representatives, made an executive agreement. But governing effectively means playing by the Constitution's rules even when it's inconvenient. (Funny how none of Obama's acolytes, who tell us that Trump is destroying our democracy, seem the least bit bothered by Obama's blatant disregard of the Constitution.)

    Days after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal, Germany has joined hands with its arch-rival Russia in order to rescue the troubled agreement. As part of a diplomatic campaign to rally support for the agreement, German Chancellor Angela Merkel dispatched Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Moscow on Tuesday. "Iran deal crisis triggers rare show of unity between Moscow and Berlin," commented Germany's state-run DW News. "Both Germany and Russia believe the deal should remain in force," the broadcaster added.

    Following President Donald Trump's decision to no longer abide by the Iran nuclear deal, the U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, has urged the German businesses to stop trading with the Islamic Republic of Iran. "US sanctions will target critical sectors of Iran’s economy. German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately," Grenell tweeted on Tuesday.
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