TEHRAN (Press Shia) – European powers are facing huge pressure from the United States to drop its proposed trade channel with Iran, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

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“Yes, there is American pressure. It’s strong, very strong and very direct on this subject,” Le Maire told reporters in Paris.

“There is pressure on political officials, the administration and all those who are implicated on this subject.”

Europe is trying to set up a special trade channel known as INSTEX, that will deal essentially with food and medical trade, but it is struggling to become operational.

Le Maire claimed that as well as the US pressure, “daily threats” by Iran to withdraw from the agreement were also making its talks on creating the trade channel more difficult.

“Iran is constantly threatening to break the agreement and that doesn’t facilitate the possibility of trade,” he said.

“I do not think that Europe will give into an ultimatum,” Le Maire said. 

On May 16, Iran began to implement its decision to stop honoring certain commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal at the discretion of the Supreme National Security Council. Iran said it could stop implementing key parts of the nuclear deal after 60 days if oil exports did not drastically increase.

Iran’s move came after the US administration renewed five of seven sanctions waivers that allow Russia and European nations to conduct civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran but revoked the other two as part of its pressure campaign against Tehran.

Washington also stopped issuing waivers to buy Iranian crude oil on May 2.

The European Union has vowed to counter US President Donald Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran, including by means of a new law to shield European companies from punitive measures, but it has so far failed to do anything beyond making statements.