Secretary of State Pompeo and Treasury Secretary Mnuchin recently rejected a European appeal for sanctions exemptions for firms conducting business with Iran. The U.S. denial is a response to a June letter from European finance and foreign ministers underscoring their intent to continue sanctions relief per the nuclear deal. The EU is also trying to enhance its blocking statute, which would attempt to deter companies from complying with U.S. sanctions.
The big picture: The Trump administration is investing heavily in financial tools to compel Iran to change its behavior in the region and to negotiate a new nuclear deal consistent with U.S. parameters. Meanwhile, European political leaders are continuing their search for a sanctions-proof financial channel to keep Iran in the current agreement.