On Wednesday, September 19, Ambassador Richard Grenell told Bloomberg News: “We are pleased with this decision because Iran diverts its economic resources away from its people to spread violence and instability across the globe.”
He said that US officials and Volkswagen finalised their agreement on the withdrawal on September 18, following weeks of talks.
Under the agreement, the German automaker will be allowed to conduct some business in Iran for humanitarian reasons.
Neither Volkswagen nor the White House has commented on the matter at the time of writing.
Back in May, Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, which gave sanctions relief to the Gulf nation in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear programme.
Trump said that the deal did not go far enough to stop Iran’s other malign behaviours, like human rights abuses, and that it failed to prevent Iran from eventually developing a nuclear weapon. Trump also said that Iran had violated the spirit of the accord by supporting terrorism and launching ballistic missiles.
The first runs of sanctions came into force in August, weakening the Iranian economy further, causing further drops in the value of the Iranian rial, and inspiring more protests in the streets.
The European signatories to the deal (Germany, France, and the UK), along with other EU countries are sticking with the nuclear accord and oppose the sanctions. They’ve even put in place laws to punish European companies who withdraw from Iran and allowed them to sue the US for lost profit.
Despite this, many European companies have already pulled out of Iran, including French oil firm Total, German carmaker Daimler, and Deutsche Telekom, as they fear US secondary sanctions much more than EU fines.
These sanctions cut off the Iranian mullahs’ access to funds that would be spent on terrorism, missiles, or regional interventionism, which make them very important to the international community.
But they also reduce the amount of money that the mullahs can spend on domestic repression, including the arrest, torture, and execution of protesters and other political prisoners, which is why the Iranian people support the sanctions.
These sanctions are punishing the Regime, not the people, and more companies should abide by them.