Last Thursday, the EU announced it was transferring $20 million to Iran to offset the impact of U.S. sanctions. EU foreign policy commissioner Federica Mogherini said it was part of a wider $58 million aid package to convince Iran to remain in the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — that is, then-President Barack Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran.
The EU’s announcement followed other anti-American, pro-Iranian moves. Those included approving regulations to protect EU firms from U.S. sanctions if they continue to trade with Iran, and barring EU firms from ending their trade with Iran to comply with U.S. sanctions.
Last Wednesday, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas published an op-ed calling for the EU to set up a system to conduct financial transactions “independent of the U.S.” Maas’s idea is to enable Europe to continue to carry out banking operations with Iran outside the framework of the SWIFT system, which the U.S. largely controls.
Although German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected Maas’s suggestion, Merkel has stridently defended the nuclear deal and led the EU in opposing the Trump administration’s abandonment of it.