China, Euro­peans back Iran af­ter US sanc­tions

Iran Daily - - Front Page -

China and Euro­pean coun­tries ex­pressed their keen­ness to con­tinue trade with Tehran af­ter the United States re­in­stated its “tough­est sanc­tions ever” on the Is­lamic Repub­lic on Mon­day.

China’s For­eign Min­istry spokes­woman Hua Chun­y­ing said the Asian gi­ant’s law­ful trade co­op­er­a­tion with Iran should be re­spected and ex­pressed re­gret about the US reim­pos­ing sanc­tions on Tehran.

“China ex­presses re­gret at the US de­ci­sion. We also noted that the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity is widely against uni­lat­eral sanc­tions,” he told a daily news brief­ing in Bei­jing.

“China con­sis­tently re­jects uni­lat­eral sanc­tions and long arm tac­tics. We think China and Iran car­ry­ing out nor­mal co­op­er­a­tion un­der the frame­work of in­ter­na­tional law is law­ful and rea­son­able, and [this right] should be re­spected and pro­tected,” he added.

The Euro­pean Union also said it is op­posed the US de­ci­sion, un­der which the sec­ond batch of sanc­tions tar­get­ing Iran’s oil and fi­nan­cial sec­tors were put into ef­fect.

“The Euro­pean Union does not ap­prove of it,” Euro­pean Eco­nomic Af­fairs Com­mis­sioner Pierre Moscovici told fran­ce­info ra­dio on Mon­day, hours af­ter the sanc­tions were re­in­stalled.

The Euro­pean Union, France, Ger­many and Britain have al­ready said they re­gret­ted the US de­ci­sion and would seek to pro­tect Euro­pean com­pa­nies do­ing le­git­i­mate busi­ness with Tehran.

A Ger­man govern­ment spokesman said on Mon­day that Ger­many is con­vinced that it should en­able le­gal busi­ness re­la­tions with Iran and is check­ing how to pro­tect com­pa­nies af­fected by sanc­tions reim­posed on Iran by Wash­ing­ton.

“We are as­sess­ing how we will be able to pro­tect the ba­sis of our busi­ness en­gage­ments there,” govern­ment spokesman St­ef­fen Seib­ert said.

Switzer­land said on Mon­day it is hold­ing talks with the United States and Iran about launch­ing a hu­man­i­tar­ian pay­ment chan­nel to help en­sure food and drugs keep flow­ing to the Is­lamic Repub­lic.

“Switzer­land is com­mit­ted to safe­guard­ing Swiss eco­nomic in­ter­ests and closely fol­lows the de­vel­op­ment of the sit­u­a­tion. The au­thor­i­ties are in di­rect con­tact with the com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties of the United States, the EU and Iran,” the State Sec­re­tariat for Eco­nomic Af­fairs (SECO) said in an emailed state­ment.

“Par­tic­u­larly in the hu­man­i­tar­ian field, the fed­eral govern­ment is com­mit­ted to en­sur­ing that food and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal prod­ucts can con­tinue to be sup­plied from Switzer­land,” it said.

The Swiss were also not in­volved in de­vel­op­ing al­ter­na­tive mech­a­nisms to SWIFT in the area of se­cure mes­sag­ing and pay­ment trans­ac­tions.

Switzer­land in Au­gust en­cour­aged Swiss com­pa­nies to pur­sue busi­ness ties with Iran pru­dently and ex­pressed re­gret at the poor sanc­tions sit­u­a­tion.

US sanc­tions take force

The sup­port came as the US im­posed strict sanc­tions on Iran on Mon­day and threat­ened more ac­tion to stop Tehran pur­su­ing “out­law” poli­cies.

Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo told re­porters on Mon­day that Iran “has a choice: It can ei­ther do a 180-de­gree turn from its out­law course of ac­tion and act like a nor­mal coun­try, or it can see its econ­omy crum­ble.”

Pom­peo said the “ob­jec­tive is to starve” Iran of “the funds it uses to fund vi­o­lent ac­tiv­ity through­out the Mid­dle East and around the world. Our ul­ti­mate goal is to en­cour­age them to aban­don their rev­o­lu­tion­ary course.”

“We hope a new agree­ment with Iran is pos­si­ble, but un­til Iran makes changes in the 12 ways I listed in May, we will be re­lent­less in ex­ert­ing pres­sure on the regime,” Pom­peo said.

The move re­stores and strength­ens sanc­tions lifted un­der a 2015 in­ter­na­tional agree­ment on Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram from which Wash­ing­ton with­drew in May.

The sanc­tions cover 50 Ira­nian banks and sub­sidiaries, more than 200 per­sons and ves­sels in its ship­ping sec­tor, and tar­gets Tehran’s na­tional air­line, Iran Air, and more than 65 of its air­craft, US Trea­sury Sec­re­tary Steven Mnuchin said in a state­ment.

US sanc­tions per­mit trade in hu­man­i­tar­ian goods such as food and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, but mea­sures im­posed on banks and trade re­stric­tions could make such items more ex­pen­sive. Pom­peo said Wash­ing­ton had granted ex­emp­tions to eight coun­tries al­low­ing them to tem­po­rar­ily con­tinue buy­ing Ira­nian oil. More than 20 coun­tries had al­ready cut their oil im­ports from Iran, re­duc­ing pur­chases by more than one mil­lion bar­rels per day, he said. “We con­tinue ne­go­ti­a­tions to get all of the na­tions to zero,” he said.

Press TV, Reuters and AFP con­trib­uted to this story.

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