Sputnik – Radio Sputnik has discussed the newly re-imposed US sanctions on Iran with Lawk Ghafuri, a London-based political analyst, who specializes in international business and economy.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that Washington will enforce sanctions on Iran, adding that the restrictions on Tehran are aimed at pushing back against the country’s allegedly malign activity. Pompeo also said that the Iranian people are unhappy with the failure of their own leadership to deliver on economic promises.
Sputnik: The European Union has announced that it will be blocking the US’s anti-Iranian sanctions. What’s your take on this? Did this move come as a surprise to you?
Lawk Ghafuri: Actually, the move by the EU and the US by re-imposing the sanctions on Iran is no surprise because Trump and his administration at the beginning have described that the Iran deal is a bad deal that Barack Obama, the ex-president of the US, implemented. We have to remember that Iran right now is having negotiations with the European Union to pull back the United States into the deal. But I look into as less likely to happen as long as the Iranian regime is refusing to negotiate another deal with the United States.
Sputnik: What consequences can this development have on European businesses with operations in Iran and the US? I think the interesting thing is what effect has the United Stated withdrawing from the JCPOA two or three months ago now, and, obviously, their determination with regard to pressurizing Iran and given the indifference that the other five members have actually had towards it, has this decision by the US to actually withdraw had a negative effect as much as they wanted it to have in the last three months?
Lawk Ghafuri: Regarding the business in Iran, especially the international businesses and companies, it definitely got affected by the United States pulling out of the Iranian nuclear deal. We have noticed that, like weeks before that, a lot of international companies and businesses have been affected, and they have already left Iran due to the US re-imposing the sanctions. The European companies, especially automotive companies, to be honest, have been hugely affected by the US sanctions. But, apart from that, the businesses and the Iranian rial have been hugely affected, and I think it will only be affected even more by time, especially when the sanctions are going to be activated; and the companies and even the Iranian currency are going to fall even further.
Sputnik: How can the strain on relations between Washington and Brussels be assessed? We know that, given the situation that President Trump has had with his strategy of isolation and protection, there’s been constant pressure on the global territories – China, Mexico, Canada, the EU. What effect is this going to have now? We had the recent meeting between Jean-Claude Juncker and President Trump, there seems to be some kind of decision and compromise but just in verbal means? Is the strain going to continue between the two parties?
Lawk Ghafuri: I think as long as the Trump administration and the EU are having a lot of differences, especially about the trade, I think that this strain is going to be continuing until there’s real negotiating on the table regarding the trade and regarding the economy. I think Trump is going to a policy that makes them more like a predator, to be honest. To make the European Union and to make the other countries, China and other countries who are trading with the US to trade according to the conditions of the United States, of Trump. I think that’s going to have a big impact not only on the United States and the EU trading, but it’s going to be impacting all the trade around the world.
Sputnik: Earlier Iran has announced that they will allow exchange offices to buy and sell hard currencies for the purposes such as foreign trade. What do you think about this move and its potential effects? I suppose this is one of the routes the government had to take, given the pressure that’s been put to bear from the US on the economy and trade.
Lawk Ghafuri: Actually, we know that the protests in all of the cities in Iran are going on and Iran is trying to do, as long as they can, to get over the sanctions and to get over the economy crisis they’re going through. I think their letting the foreign offices to buy hard currencies is going to have a positive impact on the Iranian regime. I think the question here is whether Iran can survive the sanctions that are going to be active today on them, and, most importantly, the sanctions that are going to happen and be active on the 4th of November. That’s going to be a huge one for the Iranian regime, their oil exportation and all the resources shipment. That’s going to be the hard time starting for Iran, I think.
Sputnik: From your point of view, who’s more likely to benefit from the newly re-imposed US sanctions on Iran’s economy in the long run? From the experts that we’ve talked to, it looks as though it’s China. Would you agree with that, or maybe it’s India as well?
Lawk Ghafuri: I totally agree with that. I think China and India are the biggest winners in the Iranian sanctions. As these sanctions are going to limit the Iranian economy and their trading with other countries, but China and India are going to export and import a lot of resources and a lot of products from Iran and vice versa. I think the sanctions on Iran have two ways. The first is that the Iranian regime is going to be affected. The biggest loser in the Iranian sanctions is the people.