It follows the decision by President Trump to reimpose tough sanctions against the rogue regime despite a lack of UN support. Robert Joseph, a former special envoy for nuclear nonproliferation, said the US’s move will result in firms in Europe and elsewhere being “deterred” from doing business with Iran. He added: “President Trump has said he will sanction them. These companies will face a stark choice: trade with Iran or trade with the USA. The choice will be obvious.”
Sanctions were suspended in 2015 following the signing of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
However, the US, an original signatory to the deal, reinstated sanctions last week, arguing that Iran had flouted the terms, amid claims it now has a massive stockpile of enriched uranium.
But the US move was rejected by France, Germany and Britain, whose diplomats said the US – which quit JCPOA in 2018 – no longer had a say in the plan and so its sanctions are “legally void”.
Mr Joseph rejected claims that the US’s “maximum pressure” strategy presented the EU with a stark choice between diplomacy and war, saying: “Appeasement and conciliation simply provide resources for continuing aggression, oppression of people and prolong the Iranian regime.
He added: “We know the JCPOA nuclear deal didn’t lead to a moderate Iran. It used its money to fund foreign aggression and terrorism. But the US has not gone to war since leaving.”
Mr Joseph issued his warning during a recent conference held by Iran opposition group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, which boasted a raft of US and British politicians including former Brexit minister David Jones.
The Clwyd West MP said: “Iran is at a pivotal moment: there have been three years of antiregime protests, with workers striking and rejecting theocracy and demanding genuine democracy.
“Britain is mistaken, along with France with Germany, in adhering to flawed JCPOA, which doesn’t hold Iran to account or counter its unacceptable behaviour.
“We should be siding with our staunch ally, the US, and not the EU which we’ve just left.”
He likened support for democracy in Iran to the Battle of Britain, 80 years ago.
Mr Jones said: “We stood alone against appalling fascist dictatorship and supported clandestine movements. British and US interests converged with the democratic aspirations. The same should be true of Iran.”
Iranian leaders claim they are not in breach of JCPOA as they allow UN inspectors access to their sites.