The U.S. State Department announced on January 29 that its top counterterrorism official is visiting Europe to discuss Iran’s terror related activities.
Ambassador Nathan A. Sales will visit Denmark, Sweden and Norway this week to “discuss Iran-backed terrorism in Europe, prosecuting foreign terrorist fights, and combatting terrorist travel.”
Since mid-2018, several European countries launched investigations and arrested individuals allegedly linked to Iran and involved in plots to bomb and assassinate Iranian opposition targets in France, Denmark and Holland.
Ambassador Sales’ visit comes at a time when major European countries are preparing to launch a special trade payment system to help Iran continue its trade despite U.S. sanctions. Iran’s suspected terror activities is one of the main issues impacting Europe’s desire to continue cooperation with Iran.
It is not clear if the trip is an attempt to galvanize opposition against the trade mechanism, which the U.S. opposes based on concerns that it can be a prelude to European circumvention of U.S. sanction against Iran and others in the future.
Since the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal and reimposition of sanctions, Iran has been threatening to resume its nuclear program unless it gets economic benefits. Europe, which opposed the reimposition of sanctions has told Iran to abide by the agreement in exchange for trade facilities.