France, and the EU, have been getting a tough political and economic experience from Washington lately. The biggest issues, and the ones driving the wedge that is presently making a rift in the relations between the long time partners and allies on both sides of the Atlantic, are those of America’s withdrawal from the JCPOA Iran nuke deal, which included the reimposition of nuclear related sanctions on Iran, and the trade tariffs that Trump levied back in march, to which the exemption that the EU has been enjoying has just run out.
Regardless of how much the Europeans disapproved of the action, the Trump administration decided to move even further on the issue of sanctions on Iran, to make them the ‘strongest in history’ by the time Washington was through.
Since Trump’s pullout, the EU and its member signatories to the JCPOA have been dizzily rushing about both to save the nuclear agreement as well as the economic ties that it provided for between Europe and Iran, spurring meetings with other signatories, Russia and China, to secure their commitment, as well as to circumvent Washington’s sanctions on Iran, which would be secondarily applied to European firms conducting commerce with the Middle Eastern nation.
PARIS (Reuters) – France’s Foreign Minister said on Thursday that the European Union has made some progress on measures to protect the bloc’s companies from U.S. sanctions on Iran but these were still insufficient.
“We have moved forward on one point, which is the implementation of a European rule that dates from 1996 which we have modernized and allows us to protect our firms against this American pressure, but that is not enough,” Jean-Yves Le Drian told France’s LCI television.
Le Drian said there was still a need to create financial mechanisms away from the dollar, in euros or other currencies, that will help firms dealing with Iran, and for Teheran to be able to export its oil.
In a move to work around those sanctions, Europe managed to reimplement the blocking measures, originating in 1996 to work around Washington’s sanctions on Cuba and other nations, to be applied in the present situation with Iran. France’s Foreign Minister, Jean-Yves Le Drian, is now proposing that the EU conduct trade with Iran using the Euro or other national currencies other than the USD and a financial system for processing those transactions.
This suggestion is the latest one in which a broader part of the world political system is seeking to circumvent American influence. Just recently, Russia was suggesting that Russia could do business with Europe using the Euro, which would be a large amount of economic activity totally skirting the dollar, which would put yet another dent in its global influence.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.