London, 3 Oct – Almost five months after Donald Trump withdrew from the 2015 nuclear accord, the countries still party to the deal are becoming increasingly desperate to find loopholes to the US sanctions on Iran.
While a second lot of US sanctions on Iran, this time targeting its oil industry and central bank, will come into place on November 5 and it doesn’t seem likely that any country or company will get the sanctions waivers they desire, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has written that he will allow the five other countries (the UK, Germany, France, Russia, and China) a “short grace period” to offset these sanctions. This came after a meeting between the six nations at the UN General Assembly.
Some of the workarounds being suggested include setting up a “special purpose vehicle” to facilitate purchases of Iranian imports and exports, which could mean using the Euro to trade or establishing a barter system.
EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said: “In practical terms, this will mean that EU member states will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran, and this will allow European companies to continue to trade with Iran in accordance with European Union law. And it will be open to other partners in the world.”
This plan has been laughed off by those in the US administration, who pointed out that this will not actually stop sanctions from being enforced and warned allies against taking this route.
National security adviser John Bolton said: “We do not intend to have our sanctions evaded by Europe or by anyone else.”
While Trump said: “We ask all nations to isolate Iran as long as its aggression continues. [W]e ask all nations to support Iran’s people as they struggle to reclaim their religious and righteous destiny.”
His goal is to bring Iran back to the negotiating table for a new deal on its nuclear activities, which will include restraints on its regional interference and ballistic missile programme. Something that could happen soon, given the fact that the Iranian currency has lost 70% of its value since the beginning of the year and the Iranian people are rising up against the mullahs.
Iran has ruled out such talks and has threatened to restart its nuclear programme within days if the nuclear deal collapses, which implies that they weren’t that committed to it in the first place, so maybe Trump should give up on the goal of a new nuclear deal and set his sights on regime change instead.