European Leaders Revolt Against US Sanctions In Bid To Preserve Iran Deal

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Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

European leaders gathered in Sofia on Thursday to hash out a plan for shielding Iran from the brunt of US economic sanctions as they try to convince Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to continue abiding by the terms of the deal, while proposing levying tariffs on US goods in response to Trump decision to impose sanctionson Iran.

Shortly after President Trump announced that the US would pull out of the deal, Rouhani promised that his country would continue abiding by its terms only if Iranian businesses could continue operating normally.

In an interview with Germany’s Deutschlandfunk radio, European Union budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger discussed several options for preserving the deal, including using the European Investment Bank to offset the impact of sanctions by extending loans to firms with financing problems. In an example of one more-extreme measure under discussion, the EU has also considered “imposing its own tariffs” on the US that would make it much harder for US firms to sell their goods and services in the trade bloc.

Of course, the US has important goods and services in the industrial sector that it would like to offload in Europe, Oettinger said.

While sanctions weren’t the EU’s first choice for preserving the deal, few other actions would be strident enough to get President Trump’s attention, as Oettinger made clear:

“We want to resist that. We have limited possibilities,” he said.

“Trump despises weaklings. If we back down step by step, if we acquiesce, if we become a kind of junior partner of the US then we are lost.”

And while the EU would like to protect its largest companies from US sanctions, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that companies would be responsible for deciding whether they will still do business with Iran.

European Leaders Revolt Against US Sanctions In Bid To Preserve Iran Deal

Macron was referencing French oil firm Total, which said on Wednesday that it would end work on a large gas field project in Iran unless it receives an exemption from US sanctions against Tehran, according to Reuters. Tehran had hailed that project as a symbol of the deal’s efficacy.

Meanwhile, A.P. Moller-Maersk, the world’s largest container shipping company, also said it would cease business operations in Iran.

CEO Soren Skou told Reuters on Thursday that A.P. Moller-Maersk was following suit.

“With the sanctions the Americans are to impose, you can’t do business in Iran if you also have business in the U.S., and we have that on a large scale,” Skou told Reuters in an interview following the firm’s first-quarter report.

“I don’t know the exact timing details, but I am certain that we’re also going to shut down (in Iran),” Skou said.

Finnish mining technology company Outotec said US sanctions would complicate its business with Iran, though it added that it’s too early to make a final decision on whether it would leave the Iranian market.

Macron said France backed proposals by the European Commission to protect and compensate European companies that might be hit by US sanctions for trading with Iran.

“International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their own interests. They should continue to have this freedom,” Macron said after arriving for a second day of EU leaders’ talks in the Bulgarian capital.

“But what is important is that companies, and especially medium-sized companies which are perhaps less exposed to other markets, American or others, can make this choice freely.”

That said, there’s no easy or quick way to protect companies from US sanctions, and that it will take time before the bloc can decide on a strategy. And even when they do, the plan will likely fall short of the types of firm guarantees that the Iranian authorities are seeking.

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  • Luutzen

    Evict US military bases in EU.

    Easy!

    • zman

      That would probably be far more effective than most people would think. What would the US gov do with all those service men back home? What other bases would be able to absorb the influx of more men? What would Donald Duck do if NATO withheld funds that support US troops in overseas NATO bases? What would this do to NATO, especially if Turkey closes Incirlik to NATO over Palestine? Yes, a lot of brilliant thinking went into the decisions made by the Buffoon brigade. Make no mistake, none of this is haphazard or accidental, this is a planned gambit (INF treaty, nuke deal, Jerusalem), the results of which is more chaos, where their machinations will continue unabated, but better hidden. I wonder if the religious right (US ‘Christian’ Zionists) believes The Duck to be the anti-christ who will bring chaos to the world?

      • Luutzen

        Russia defeated NATO on April 14-th 2018 in Syria!

    • paul ( original )

      The trouble is those bases are supposedly present in order to protect Europe. I idea that Europe should protect itself is not something that makes the imagination horizon for most European politicians. I think if memory serves France did expel Nato bases in the sixties. It did not last very long as I recall, but may be others have the details better than I do.

      • Barba_Papa

        It lasted for decades. Mitterand was a diehard believer in French independence. Probably his only redeeming trait. Chirac probably wanted to become chummy with the US, but ended up on the wrong side of the Iraq war as ‘Old Europe’. Sarkozy did a full 180 and tried to turn France as America’s new poodle. A policy continued by all his successors, including the current poodle.

        • paul ( original )

          Yes I only remember it happening. I thought it was under de Gaulle. I recall seeing images of armoured vehicles ‘moving out’. But I gave it little attention at the time.

      • Sephy

        Everyone including the Russians wants a strong Europe

        • paul ( original )

          Well if Russia does want a strong Europe then I would hope it would be so it can stand up to America. If on the other hand Europe is only strong in order to bash Russia alongside America then I would think it rather a masochistic hope on the part of Russia.

          • Sephy

            If Europe pursue it’s policy driven by it’s own interests rather than just blindly supporting US policies, it will benefit both parties (Eu and Rus). The US will not be able to do what they do today without the supports from the EU.

            In that case, EU will most likely build relations with Russia based on the mutual interests, which will significantly help Russia to improve it’s economy.

            On the other hand, we all know that the Russian military is capable of thwarting US military influences.

            We’ll see a balanced world. But unfortunately, this will never happen. EU can never be free.

          • paul ( original )

            The thing is if good sense prevailed then all European states would have good relations. However, good sense has always been in short supply and idiocy abundant.

          • Sephy

            Sad but true

          • Rodger

            The politicians may lack good sense but the business leaders have plenty of it. And they have very direct lines to the politicians.

      • Rodger

        The EU combined has 3 times the defense budget and 3 times the soldiers Russia has. And neither Russia nor the EU is looking for an armed conflict. The EU can protect itself just fine if it wanted to.

  • Sephy

    “””Macron said on Thursday that companies would be responsible for deciding whether they will still do business with Iran.””””

    Europe cannot hold it. The deal will collapse, and this collapse will be initiated by Tehran when it will see that the European companies are backing down and the deal is not benefiting the Iranians. Then the EU leaders would say “we tried so hard to preserve the deal, but Iranians did not want it”

    Europeans have sold their souls.

    • velociraptor

      bs

    • Rodger

      There will just be some companies that deal exclusively with Iran so that the US can sanction them but not hurt them in any way. They could even be 1-deal companies that dissolve themselves every week. Anyway without Russia and China following the US in sanctions it really doesn’t matter if the EU does.

      • velociraptor

        so that the US can sanction them but not hurt them in any way

        unfortunately, it is not so

      • Sephy

        I might be wrong because things are going in the right direction – at least for now. I am impressed, I have never imagined Europe would be able to stand in front of USA.

  • Sinbad2

    Revolt, from the inbred leaders of Europe, as if.
    Trump just told Merkel to stop Nordstream2 or there would be a trade war.
    The always compliant Merkel said yes sir.

  • delbertino

    AMERICA IS FINISHED; LEAVE AMERICA TO TWIST IN THE WIND WITH ISRAEL AND SAUDIS

  • delbertino

    AMERICA HAS NO INFLUENCE OR LEVERAGE; IGNORE AMERICA; REPLACE AMERICA; DESTROY AMERICA WITH SANCTIONS AS AMERICA HAS DONE TO VENEZUELA AND MANY OTHERS; GIVE AMERICA WHAT IT GIVES SMALLER NATIONS; DESTROY US MILITARY

  • delbertino

    USA ENTERTAINS LUCIFERIAN POPE WITH LUCIFER NAMED TELESCOPE AT MT GRAHAM IN ARIZONA; LUCIFERIAN ANTI-CHRIST AMERICA IS BEING DESTROYED BY GOD AND ALL NATIONS NOW; CHECK HAWAII

  • delbertino

    VENEZUELA SOON TO BE WEALTHIEST NATION IN NORTH AMERICA

  • delbertino

    GLOBAL BOYCOTT OF AMERICA AND ISRAEL AND SAUDIS AND JAPAN

  • delbertino

    DOWN WITH WALMART AND US LEADERS ALL

  • delbertino

    DOWN WITH ALL BOX STORES

  • delbertino

    POMPEO FACES TAXPAYERS AS HE SCHILLS FOR ISRAEL AND POPE; JESUITS ARE TRAITORS LIKE CIA; LOYAL TO POPE, NOT USA; POMPEO IS A TRAITOR

  • delbertino

    HOW MANY CHRISTIANS HAS POMPEO TORTURED AND MURDERED; EVEN HE DOESNT KNOW; ASK THE POPE; HOW MANY HUMAN SACRIFICES HAS POMPEO WITNESSED

  • delbertino

    MADURO WINS AND US PROPAGANDA MACHINE CRANKS UP TO SLANDER MADURO; IT WONT WORK ANYMORE; MADURO HAS BACK UP THREE WAYS; US IS CAST OUT OF SOUTH AMERICA, ALL

  • delbertino

    AMERICA IS TRASH ON FIRE

  • delbertino

    WHITEHOUSE IS A KENNEL