The Trump administration threatened three European governments with 25% auto tariffs if they didn’t play ball with Iran and call out its government for violating the 2015 nuclear deal, according to a report from the Washington Post.
Officials in Britain, France, and Germany received the threat, and they were stunned at what one European official characterized to the Post as “extortion.”
Trump previously used the threat of tariffs on European cars to extract additional investment into the US from its automakers.
The Trump administration warned European officials in three countries that if they didn’t put Iran on notice about nuclear deal violations, the US government would slap a 25% tariff on all European cars.
First reported by the Washington Post, the threat from the White House was conveyed directly to officials from Britain, France and Germany, a week before they accused Iran of breaking the 2015 nuclear agreement. It stunned them.
They called out the Iranian government several days after receiving the warning, sparking an enforcement mechanism that would allow the United Nations to reimpose sanctions on Iran to hammer away at its embattled economy. It would also include a full arms embargo.
One European official told the Post it was a move equivalent to “extortion” from the Trump administration, underscoring the turmoil in decade-long relationships between the United States and its European allies.
British, German, and French officials, though, told the Post they had already planned on accusing Iran of violating the agreement which restrains its nuclear program. But they feared being perceived as puppets of the American government if the threat ever became public.
Trump previously used the threat of tariffs on European cars — deeming them a threat to national security since they hurt domestic auto industry — to extract additional investment into the US from Europe’s automakers.
He’s blasted the continent’s trade practices for allowing a spate of European cars to enter the United States.
Such tariffs could increase the price tag of a new car anywhere from $1,400 to $7,000 depending on its size and make, according to the Peterson Institute of International Economics.
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