The United States’ efforts to get other countries to join its trade embargo against Iran faltered Tuesday when leading European nations rejected the idea.
In Bonn’s latest sally against Washington, a German official called the U.S. initiative wrong.
Japan, too, gave the idea a cool response. Officials in Tokyo said they have received no formal American request for support, but if they do, they would study it seriously. But, reflecting longstanding differences with Washington over Iran, a Japanese foreign ministry official indicated Tokyo prefers dialogue with “what are called moderates in the Iranian government so they will be more cooperative.”
European nations, too, have long differed with Washington over its attitude to Tehran, saying they prefer “critical dialogue” to isolation as a means of curbing Iran’s support for terrorism.
That policy protects widespread efforts to promote trade ties with oil-producing Iran. While Germany, for instance, lists Iran as a “low-level” trade partner, it imports Iranian carpets and oil and sells machinery, electrical goods and chemicals there. By Iranian accounts, Germany is Tehran’s most important trade partner, making Bonn a key player in any attempt to broaden the U.S. embargo.