Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

European companies 'protected' from USA sanctions following Iran nuclear row

Trump team unites in bid to topple Iran regime Iran FM says Trump, Mohammed Bin Salman, Netanyahu are ‘isolated’
Leonard Rios | 07 August, 2018, 16:20

Many European companies withdrew from Iran after Trump pulled the USA out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran and set a grace period for firms to wind down their business in the country.

Earlier in the day he assailed Iran as "a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence and chaos".

The sanctions that took effect on Tuesday target Iranian purchases of USA dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector.

The second phase of United States sanctions, which takes effect on 5 November and will block Iran's oil sales, is due to cause more damage, but several countries including China, India and Turkey have indicated they are not willing to entirely cut their Iranian energy purchases.

Iranians are already seeing the effects of the sanctions, with Iran's rial currency losing around half its value since Mr Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the 2015 nuclear accord.

He said Iran had "always welcomed negotiations" but that Washington would first have to demonstrate it can be trusted.

He called the landmark 2015 agreement "horrible", claiming it left the Iranian government flush with cash to fuel conflict in the Middle East.

He added, "To this day, Iran threatens the United States and our allies, undermines the global financial system, and supports terrorism and militant proxies around the world".

President Hassan Rouhani on Monday said Iran could hold talks with the United States only if Washington proved its trustworthiness.

In a statement on Monday just hours before the sanctions went back into force, Trump said: "The Iranian regime faces a choice".

A combination of two pictures shows U.S. President Donald Trump (L) on July 22, 2018, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on February 6, 2018.

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"We'll find out whether they are or not", he said on Fox News.

"The world has distanced itself from their hostile policies", Zarif said, adding that they "have become the symbol of mistrust in the world".

"We are doing our best to keep Iran in the deal, to keep Iran benefitting from the economic benefits that the agreement brings to the people of Iran, because we believe that this is (in) the security interests not only of our region but also of the world". "The riyal is tanking, unemployment in Iran is rising, and there are widespread protests over social issues and labour unrest".

A senior administration official, briefing reporters under ground rules requiring anonymity, said the United States is "not particularly concerned" by EU efforts to protect European firms from the sanctions. Now, it's there. It's their modus operandi.

U.S. officials insisted the American government stands with the people of Iran and supports many of their complaints against their own government.

Most Iranians see U.S. hostility as a basic fact of life, so their frustration is largely directed at their own leaders for not handling the situation better.

The European Union has sought to salvage the nuclear deal and provide legal cover for its companies to continue operating in Iran. The U.S. move has dismayed America's European allies trying to preserve the nuclear deal. She made the announcement on the same day renewed USA trade sanctions against the Islamic Republic restarted.

They called the worldwide agreement "a key element of the global nuclear nonproliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world".

They also unveiled a "blocking statute" which is meant to protect European firms doing business with Iran despite the new USA sanctions.

Mr Trump warned that those who do not wind down their economic ties to Iran "risk severe consequences".

The EU has taken the unprecedented step in a bid to salvage the nuclear deal struck with Iran in 2015.

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