EU blocking statute can't protect Iran against US sanctions: Fitzpatrick

TEHRAN, Aug. 20 (MNA) – Mark Fitzpatrick, Executive Director of International Institute for Strategic Studies says that the EU blocking statute cannot by itself protect Iran against the impact of US sanctions because any firms that do business with the United States will still need to decide for themselves if it is worth risking this business for the sake of trade with Iran.

“European governments can advise and assist businesses, but cannot compel them to do business with any party,” Fitzpatrick told the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Some argue that the European Union laws does not have an effect to protect Iran against the impact of US sanctions. In other words, the law is a new version of the "Blocking Statute" that the European Union approved in 1996 to protect Cuba against US sanctions. In your opinion, how much this law is effectiveness to protect Iran against US sanctions?

The EU blocking statute cannot by itself protect Iran against the impact of US sanctions because any firms that do business with the United States will still need to decide for themselves if it is worth risking this business for the sake of trade with Iran.  Given the huge size of the US market, most will probably say no. But small and medium-sized European firms that do not have a presence in the US market may make a different decision, which will be helped by the blocking statute.  It would be better, however, if they were able to conduct trade with Iran that is not denominated in US dollars. It would also help if central banks in Europe established direct banking service channels.

Previously, in 1996, without the Europe support, America put sanction on Cuba, and Europe did not accept these sanctions. Nowadays Is Europe still able to resist US sanctions against Iran?

The situation is different compared with 1996, because secondary sanctions have evolved since then to become more powerful. In addition, the Trump Administration is more aggressive in implementing the sanctions.  This said, the Cuba example is a good reminder of the ineffectiveness of sanctions that are not supported by other parties. America’s embargo on Cuba has been a colossal failure.

In Europe, economic companies have the right to choose and freedom, and the EU also does not want to restrict this freedom. Does the EU can push the companies to work with Iran? How the EU can force the companies to cooperate with Iran?

Yes, European companies make their own decisions on trade.  European governments can advise and assist businesses, but cannot compel them to do business with any party.

Interview by Javad Heirannia

MNA/TT

News Code 136956

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