Berlin has confirmed that the U.S. last week issued a fresh threat to slap tariffs on European cars if Germany, France and the U.K. didnt trigger a dispute-resolution mechanism under the Iran nuclear accord.
But the German government insists the renewed pressure had no influence on Tuesdays decision by the three European countries to launch the mediation mechanism, which is aimed at forcing Iran to return to compliance with limits placed on its nuclear program.
A foreign ministry official told the Bundestags foreign affairs committee in a confidential briefing on Friday that Washington had made the auto tariff threat on January 8, but that the European countries had already decided to launch the dispute resolution a day earlier, according to three people present at the briefing.
The threat was raised by a U.S. State Department official during a video call with counterparts from Berlin, Paris and London, the foreign ministry official told lawmakers. News of the briefing was first reported by German media Spiegel.
“There was no American influence on the decision [to trigger the dispute resolution mechanism],” a spokesperson for the foreign ministry said, without commenting on the confidential briefing to lawmakers.