Donald Trump
Donald TrumpReuters

President Donald Trump threatened to impose tariffs on three European powers if they did not hold Iran accountable for Tehran’s repeated violations of the 2015 nuclear deal, German claimed Thursday.

Speaking at a press conference in London, Germany’s defense minister, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, confirmed reports that there was a “threat” on the table from the Trump administration.

“This threat exists,” the defense minister said, confirming claims in a Washington Post article that President Trump had secretly warned Britain, France, and Germany that the US would impose “25% tariffs on European cars” if the three powers did not activate a mechanism for the settlement of disputes over Iran’s ongoing violations of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“This expression or threat, as you will, does exist,” said Kramp-Karrenbauer.

Kramp-Karrenbauer made the comments as representatives from the five nations other than Iran whose citizens were killed in last week’s downing of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 by an Iranian surface-to-air missile met in London to mull a joint response to Iran’s handling of the incident and its aftermath.

Among the 176 passengers and crew killed in the shoot-down were 63 Canadian nationals, eleven Ukrainians, ten Swedish citizens, seven Afghani citizens, and three British nationals.

Earlier on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted that his country’s nuclear program is now enriching uranium at an even faster rate than it had been prior to the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015.

"Our daily enrichment is today more than before signing the agreement," Rouhani said.

On Tuesday, the UK, Germany, and France announced that they were launching a dispute mechanism against Iran under the 2015 nuclear deal, accusing Tehran of repeatedly violating the accord while insisting they remained committed to the agreement.

Iran responded by warning of a “serious and strong response” if European powers moved to impose sanctions on Tehran.

Iran announced last week that it will abandon the deal amid heightened tensions with the United States over the killing of Soleimani.