French party calls for creation of bank to finance companies’ operations in Iran

Sputnik – France should consider setting up a special bank for trade with Iran and Russia, as the suggested special-purpose vehicle (SPV) to bypass US sanctions is insufficient, Damien Lempereur, spokesman for the French right-wing Debout La France party told Sputnik.

“If this decision [to set up the SPV] is useful, it is largely insufficient to strengthen our exports [to] countries under sanctions. We propose to create a bank without connection or interaction with the United States to finance operations of French companies in Iran but also in all countries under sanctions, especially Russia,” Lempereur said.

The party spokesman noted that this bank would not be able to help the European companies doing business in the United States, but could still be of use to many businesses.

“This bank could be created with the French state support before joining other European states to found a European financial institution dedicated to our exports and our jobs,” Lempereur said.

The spokesman of the party noted that the decision to establish the SPV was a step “in the right direction,” which showed that “European countries understand the danger of the US law extraterritoriality against our economic interests.”

US National Security Advisor John Bolton, in response to the creation of the SPV, said on Tuesday that the United States would be monitoring the SPV, but that the European Union is strong on rhetoric and weak on follow through.

The United States announced its withdrawal from the JCPOA in May, which led to the reinstatement of the first round of its anti-Iranian sanctions in August.

In the wake of this move, parties to the Iranian nuclear deal — Russia, Germany, China, France, Iran, the United Kingdom and the European Union — have reaffirmed their commitment to the agreement.

EU Plan for Special Iran Payment Channel Sign of ‘Clear Defiance’ Toward US

The EU plan to set up a special-purpose vehicle (SPV) to facilitate trade with Iran bypassing US sanctions is a sign of clear defiance toward Washington, Marco Zanni, a member of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with Iran, told Sputnik.

“The decision to create a new payment mechanism to allow countries to transact with Iran is a clear act of political defiance towards Trump administration. In this case, the shift of the EU stance in relation with the US is driven by the large amount of orders already placed to European companies by Iran,” Zanni, a member of Italy’s Lega party, said.

The move could help “internationalize the euro,” although that would be difficult given “the uncompleted structure of the Eurozone and its asymmetries,” the lawmaker added.
Zanni said the tool would be helpful to European small and medium businesses that do not have a strong presence in the United States.

“If it works properly, I believe Iran could keep the nuclear deal alive,” the member of the European Parliament said.

The European Union’s opposition to the US policy on Iran is “a good thing,” a member of the governing board of Lega Lombarda, the regional section of Italy’s Lega party, told Sputnik.

“Sanctions are always a useless thing. I hope that the sanctions against Iran do not produce the desired effects as well as I hope that the sanctions against Russia will be removed as soon as possible,” Gianmatteo Ferrari noted.

Ferrari said he was hoping for parties like Lega to gain many seats in the upcoming election to the European Parliament.

“I expect a great victory for political parties like [Lega] to do in Europe what we are doing in Italy. To return to dialogue with nations like Russia and give voice to the peoples and take power away from bureaucrats and establishments,” the Italian politician stated.

EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini announced on September 25 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly that European signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) would establish the SPV to facilitate trade with Iran.