Sputnik – The EU plans to reactivate a 1996 law prohibiting European companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced on Thursday. He added that the commission will cooperate with Iran. Sputnik spoke with Tamer Badawi, a research fellow at Al Sharq Forum about this situation.
Sputnik: French President Emmanuel Macron has stated that the EU intends to ensure the presence of companies in Iran despite the US withdrawal from the deal. How likely is the bloc to succeed, given the pressure from Washington?
Tamer Badawi: EU was not prepared from the very beginning to tackle such a situation. You have mixed messages sent from EU officials to European investors in Iran as well of the Iranian side itself.
On May 15 you have Reuters reporting that advisers to the French president saying that setting up euro-denominated financing mechanism is not sufficient to sustain European-Iranian economic relations. And then you have on the same day Germany’s foreign minister saying that it is difficult to protect German businesses that continue doing business after the US re-imposition of sanctions. These statements prompted quick responses from European firms like Total Alliance, Siemens and others.
So I think from the very beginning you have mixed messages that impacted these big firms that have big plans in Iran.
Sputnik: Earlier the EU announced its intention to ditch the dollar in favor of the euro in terms of its payment with Iran. How much of a blow would this have on the US economy, beside it being an interesting transaction for the European Union to initiate? Is this really going to damage the US economy, what’s your take on this?
Tamer Badawi: I think I have mentioned earlier, transferring trade from dollars to euro is not an easy step and I think if it was easy, there would not have been a need to activate the blocking regulation. Maybe there was not a need to declare that investments by the European investment bank will be made so I think it will take time. I don’t think it’s an easy step to take.