America's top diplomat had harsh words for Europe and its fellow remaining members of the Iranian nuclear deal after it was announced they would develop a financial mechanism to bypass U.S. sanctions and continue doing business with Iran.
Speaking to the conservative lobbying group United Against a Nuclear Iran during the UN General Assembly meetings, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday he was "disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed" by the European Union's decision to create a "special purpose vehicle" (SPV) designed to allow trade with Tehran in euros, which would eliminate the need for commercial and central banks who fear U.S. penalties.
"This is one of the of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional and global peace and security," Pompeo said. "By sustaining revenues to the regime, you are solidifying Iran's ranking as the number one state sponsor of terror."
U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton added to Pompeo's criticism, mocking the EU's resolve and the feasibility of the plan.
"The European Union is strong on rhetoric and weak on follow-through," he told the audience. "We do not intend to allow our sanctions to be evaded by Europe or anybody else."
The Trump administration re-imposed economic sanctions on Tehran after pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal in May. The deal, negotiated under the Obama administration, was signed by the U.S., Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China in 2015 and lifted sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits to its nuclear program.