But, more importantly, although the EU was hoping to be immune from the sanctions imposed on Iran, Washington made it clear that both US and non-US entities that engage in business dealings with the Iranian regime would be violating the sanctions. European companies were then given time to pull out of Iran. The Treasury Department stated: “Non-US, non-Iranian persons are advised to use these time periods (90 and 180 days) to wind down their activities with or involving Iran that will become sanctionable at the end of the applicable wind-down period.”
But the EU did not appear to take the matter seriously until the US began holding those who were allegedly breaching the sanctions accountable. For example, Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei, the largest telecoms equipment maker in the world, was arrested in Canada in December at the request of the American authorities. Previously, China’s ZTE Corp pleaded guilty to breaking US sanctions against the Iranian regime.
This sent a robust message to the EU that Washington is determined to punish those who continue to deal with the Iranian regime. Instead of cooperating with its old transatlantic partner, the EU began taking Tehran’s side and showed signs of defiance to Washington. As a result, it came up with
The EU is attempting to depict
But, in reality, the EU is trying to appease the Iranian leaders in order to help continue trading with the regime. The Iranian leaders, as well as the conservative and moderate news outlets, have been playing the good cop, bad cop strategy.
For example, according to the Fars News Agency, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi welcomed the EU’s move. He said: “The Islamic Republic of Iran believes the recent move by the European Union to register and announce its special financial mechanism (for trade) with Iran is Europe’s first step in fulfilling its obligations toward Iran as per a May 2018 statement by the foreign ministers of Iran and the three European countries.”
On the other hand, the hardline outlets urged cautioned on
The EU is unlikely to succeed in continuing to trade with the Iranian regime through its new mechanism for several reasons. First of all, the European mechanism will not help Tehran to gain more revenues due to the fact it is only for dealing with pharmaceutical, medical devices
Third, European companies will not want to risk their business with the US or access to US financial systems by dealing with Iran. The Trump administration is insistent that any move to bypass US sanctions will have severe consequences. Following the EU’s announcement of establishing
The EU’s new mechanism is doomed to fail. From a political perspective, the Iranian leaders may view