It's all over the map.
U.S. President Donald Trump's trade strategy was throw into confusion over the weekend as he pressured Commerce Department officials to ease restrictions on a Chinese company accused of violating sanctions on Iran just as his administration warned European firms could be punished for doing business with Tehran.
Trump's National Security Adviser, John Bolton, told CNN Sunday that "it's possible" the White House could sanction European companies that violate upcoming trade sanctions on Iran following the President's decision to withdraw from a multi-lateral nuclear treaty with the Gulf nation last week. Bolton added, however, that "I think the Europeans will see that's in their interest ultimately to go along with this."
His comments, however, mark a stark contrast to a pair of weekend tweets from the President, the first of which urged the Commerce Department to re-think its ban on U.S. companies doing business with ZTE Corp, (ZTCOY) a Chinese telecoms equipment maker accused of violating previous trade sanctions on Iran and current prohibitions on North Korea.
European leaders, including U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May, have been attempting to both persuade the Trump Administration to reconsider its unilateral move and shore-up regional support for a deal that both neutralises Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions and allows European firms to continuing doing business with an important trading partner.
China, France, Russia, German and the United Kingdom remain signatories to the 2015 pact, with May saying "it is in both the U.K. and Iran's national security interests to maintain the deal and welcomed President Rouhani's public commitment to abide by its terms, adding that it is essential that Iran continues to meet its obligations," Downing Street said in a statement following the Prime Minister's talks with Rouhani on Sunday.
France's Total SA
is one of the biggest European companies doing business with Iran since sanctions were eased in 2015, inking a deal the following year to develop the South Pars gas field, the largest in the world.
Boeing Co. (BA) - Get Report is probably the biggest American company with interests in the Rouhani administration after it agreed a 2016 deal to sell 80 planes, including 15 777 long-haul aircraft. That agreement, however, remains incomplete amid the threat of U.S. sanctions following Trump's election in November 2016.