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Utopia Talk / Politics / UK/Germany/France statement: Iran deal
murder
Member
Tue May 08 15:55:55
Joint statement from Prime Minister May, Chancellor Merkel and President Macron following President Trump’s statement on Iran

Published 8 May 2018

It is with regret and concern that we, the Leaders of France, Germany and the United Kingdom take note of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States of America from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Together, we emphasise our continuing commitment to the JCPoA. This agreement remains important for our shared security. We recall that the JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by the UN Security Council in resolution 2231. This resolution remains the binding international legal framework for the resolution of the dispute about the Iranian nuclear programme. We urge all sides to remain committed to its full implementation and to act in a spirit of responsibility.

According to the IAEA, Iran continues to abide by the restrictions set out by the JCPoA, in line with its obligations under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons. The world is a safer place as a result. Therefore we, the E3, will remain parties to the JCPoA. Our governments remain committed to ensuring the agreement is upheld, and will work with all the remaining parties to the deal to ensure this remains the case including through ensuring the continuing economic benefits to the Iranian people that are linked to the agreement.

We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPoA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal. After engaging with the US Administration in a thorough manner over the past months, we call on the US to do everything possible to preserve the gains for nuclear non-proliferation brought about by the JCPoA, by allowing for a continued enforcement of its main elements.

We encourage Iran to show restraint in response to the decision by the US; Iran must continue to meet its own obligations under the deal, cooperating fully and in a timely manner with IAEA inspection requirements. The IAEA must be able to continue to carry out its long-term verification and monitoring programme without restriction or hindrance. In turn, Iran should continue to receive the sanctions relief it is entitled to whilst it remains in compliance with the terms of the deal.

There must be no doubt: Iran’s nuclear program must always remain peaceful and civilian. While taking the JCPOA as a base, we also agree that other major issues of concern need to be addressed. A long-term framework for Iran’s nuclear programme after some of the provisions of the JCPOA expire, after 2025, will have to be defined. Because our commitment to the security of our allies and partners in the region is unwavering, we must also address in a meaningful way shared concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising regional activities, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen. We have already started constructive and mutually beneficial discussions on these issues, and the E3 is committed to continuing them with key partners and concerned states across the region.

We and our Foreign Ministers will reach out to all parties to the JCPoA to seek a positive way forward.
murder
Member
Tue May 08 15:56:13
http://www...ident-trumps-statement-on-iran
murder
Member
Tue May 08 15:56:52

As predicted. The US walks, and the remaining countries try to keep Iran in the deal anyway.

Hot Rod
Revved Up
Tue May 08 16:15:08

There are several holes in that response.

Seb
Member
Tue May 08 16:25:45
murder:

They will try, but I can't see how they can deliver.

US sanctions exert too much leverage over EU companies.
Aeros
Member
Tue May 08 17:12:41
And here the mask of Empire slips. Trump is really breaking the rules of the game, and this is not a good thing. A huge part of what keeps Europe in line with US interests is the kabuki dance that they are not in the orbit of an American Empire. This something the voting public of these nations would never tolerate.

More importantly though, the US really does not have the capability of maintaining a naked imperial system over the western world, which is why we have always used soft power tools. Trump clearly has no idea what soft power even is.
murder
Member
Tue May 08 17:17:49
^ wtf Cthulhu?
Cthulhu
Tentacle Rapist
Tue May 08 17:20:06
I'm a childish asshole going insane from watching hours and hours of 'training' videos.
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Tue May 08 17:24:51
"we must also address in a meaningful way shared concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and its destabilising regional activities, especially in Syria, Iraq and Yemen."

lol
Forwyn
Member
Tue May 08 17:36:47
Imagine playing both sides, wherein supporting a government against jihadis is destabilizing, but supporting a successful coup against a deposed government is also destabilizing.

Basically, any foreign action taken by Iran is destabilizing, regardless of the goal or outcome.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed May 09 06:41:03
Bringing Iran to heel is meaningless without exerting any pressure on Israel and (to be fair) stopping EU aid money funneled into Palestinian orgs that refuse to recognize Israel.

The shitshow commences once more.
Paramount
Member
Wed May 09 07:42:15
If we could just get rid of fhe Nazi Israel regime and the Saudi Barbarian one, everything would get good.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed May 09 08:17:57
Para
All the money that the Swedish government has funneled into Islamist organizations? WHATABOUTHAT?
jergul
large member
Mon May 14 12:36:48
"and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal."

Seb, murder.

That. The EU is asking that the US not exert its leverage on companies wishing to trade with Iran.
murder
Member
Mon May 14 12:39:50

That would kind of make US sanctions pointless.

jergul
large member
Mon May 14 13:30:20
Murder
Yah, show, not substance. You find that incompatible with the Trump doctrine in general?
jergul
large member
Mon May 14 13:37:57
I am not saying Trump agreed to that, but rather that it is not exactly a long shot to request it.
murder
Member
Mon May 14 13:46:37

If that's the plan, they may as well dissolve the EU, because it's worthless.

Seb
Member
Mon May 14 14:07:26
Jergul:

It's a nice ask.

They'd actually need to legislate to indemnify EU companies against sanctions to be paid for by retaliatory tarrifs before any EU company trusted a Trump admin deal.

I don't think it will happen.
Seb
Member
Mon May 14 14:07:51
Though the ZTE stuff shows how bonkers trumps US is
jergul
large member
Mon May 14 15:42:55
Seb
There is basic legislation. From 1996. Cuban stuff. But that is beside the point. The EU cannot force companies to trade with Iran. It can however assure that deals underway do not give grounds for sanction and let companies negotiate what risk premium they need to do business in Iran.

It might be enough to keep the agreement afloat. Review Iran's trading partners.

Murder
Why? Do you think anyone who understands the deal actually wanted it canceled?

I see no reason to think Trump understands why 3rd party sanctions are important, nor do I see any reason for him to think that important even if he did understand it.

He is such a character.
Paramount
Member
Mon May 14 15:55:03
The USA is acting like a mafia. They violate the UNSC resolution on Iran and then use threats and blackmail against European governments and companies. Pure criminal. The EU can longer view America as an ally. But as a mafia ruled by the Zionist family in Israel.
murder
Member
Mon May 14 16:04:52

"Why? Do you think anyone who understands the deal actually wanted it canceled?"

They want to renegotiate the terms. Or should I say that they want to strong arm Iran into a more oppressive agreement.

The US and it's European allies are acting in bad faith.

But that has nothing to do with anything. There's not much point in a trading block whose only defense is to ask pretty please not to be sanctioned.

If the EU can't defend itself, then it's worthless.


Seb
Member
Mon May 14 16:18:27
jergul:

Financial systems are more integrated in the 90's - and Clinton far less keen on rupturing ties with Europe than the US appears to be.

I think in practice the US has enough clout to force many businesses to chose between Iran or the US as a market place to do business. Given Iran's oil and gas industry, I think the leverage the US exerts here is still quite large.

You are right, it might be enough to keep the deal afloat, but overall I am pessimistic.

Germany isn't willing to spend money on serious structural problems to keep Europe afloat, I can't see them willing to open up an unlimited indemnification of European businesses; nor do I think there is an appetite for a deepening trade war.

A lot will also depend on Iran's political institutions in restraining it's military ones.

And while Europe deplores the US breaking the deal as it fears Iranian nukes, lets not imagine for a second that Europe doesn't view Iran's adventurism more broadly as a bad thing.

Murder:
I wouldn't deal in absolutes. Just because one might be able to defend oneself doesn't mean it is prudent to start a fight.

In reality this is a choice between what interests Europe want's to defend.

On the one hand, it has a strong interest in trade with the US. On the other hand it has an interest in containing Iran's conventional and asymmetric reach. On another it has an interest in maintaining the containment of Iran's nuclear ambitions.

It probably can't win on all of these points simultaneously.

One would not want to risk the hubris of the US over the last two decades, which forgot that just because it had the power to act, that acting was necessarily in it's best interests.

Europe will likely prioritise trade and economics over geopolitics here, because that is the small power mentality it has.

If Europe prioritised geopolitics over trade and economics, then the Euro wouldn't have spent years in crisis and there wouldn't be a refugee crisis because we would have decisively intervened in Syria early - as was eventually done with Yugoslavia.

That doesn't make the EU worthless, it is more a question about the perspective and priorities of its members. The EU is a very good platform for pursuing economic interests which are foremost in the minds of its members, to the exclusion of geopolitics.
jergul
large member
Mon May 14 17:04:04
Murder
Unilateral withdrawal does not strongarm Iran into anything.

Seb
Iran's political institutions have a pretty firm grip on the pursestrings. It is still one of the smallest per capita spenders on defense.

Militarism will not drive more substantive nuclear programmes. National pride will.

You reviewed trading and investment partners?

This can easily play out to China gaining all the risk premium, except without the risk.

Seb
Member
Tue May 15 04:02:47
Jergul:

I think IRG will want to retaliate in some way which will be unhelpful.

I'm not sure that Iran's current patterns of trade reflects what they saw as the benefits of the deal or what they aspire to. And if they can only export oil to China, history shows that trades at a discount.

So I'm not as confident as you they would see China as a benefit for remaining in the deal, particularly as if they walk away now, trump having immolated the deal, China isn't going to stop trading with them anyway.


jergul
large member
Tue May 15 04:15:42
Seb
The IRG has lots of reasons to retaliate that are completely independent of the nuclear deal.

Remaining within the framework provides some cover for fighting over the Golan heights (for example).

China and Russia want Iran to keep the deal. A risk premium is a given no matter what the EU does. We are just considering who gets the risk premium. EU firms with an actual risk, or Chinese and Russian entities.

(Russia is important not for volume, but for technology transfers).
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 06:16:19
jergul:

I think if Iran turned around and said "well, we can't keep the deal - America violated it and Europe can't provide the business. Plus Bolton and Trump want regime change and can't be trusted, security comes first. Domestically we can't sell sanctions and no nukes.

Besides, look at what happened with North Korea!
So we'll go back to our minimal means of reprisal plans as a means to bring the US back to the table.

China and Russia prefer the deal, but I don't think they will sanction the hell out of Iran if they point out that America has broken it. There are strong benefits here for China and Russia of having the US torch the deal leading to a bad outcome.

The other option is peeling the EU away from the US and all three of them finding a way to allow defy sanctions - that serves Russia and China very well indeed as it creates the legal and financial infrastructure necessary to remove the US main levels of control over the global economy.

Which I think is their main reason for trying to keep the deal going. I'm not sure the EU, ultimately, will bite.

jergul
large member
Tue May 15 07:14:04
Iran could do that, but the main reason for keeping the deal is to minimize economic disruption.

We will see how many camels the EU is willing to swallow. The Iran deal and 3rd party sanctions is hardly the first log Trump has laid across the tracks of cooperation, nor will it be the last.
jergul
large member
Tue May 15 07:21:04
According to him, Moscow could see pressure being exerted on them. "Ultimatums have been issued citing the need to stop trade with Iran, including the exports of certain goods and the imports of Iranian oil, the deadlines of 60 and 90 days have been set. It is kind of a plan to exert strong pressure," the Russian top diplomat pointed out.

"However, our European counterparts tell us they are getting ready to become independent from the US in relation to their trade and economic ties with Iran," the Russian top diplomat went on to say. "We are interested in discussing the issue with all countries remaining within the agreement on Iran’s nuclear program," he noted.

"We will see how resilient the Europeans will be this time, for in the past there were times when they eventually gave in to Washington, damaging their own legitimate interests," Lavrov added.

The US forfeited all its rights under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program by exiting from this agreement, Lavrov explained.

"By withdrawing from the JCPOA, the United States lost all its rights under this document, as there are a number of provisions in it that confers its participants with certain rights. The US - and it seems not to be denying this fact - already forfeited all these rights," he said.


More:
http://tass.com/politics/1004352


==============

It would also follow that the EU would choose a more independent course in terms of Russian sanctions (which hurt the EU far more than equivalent sanctions hurt the US).
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 08:19:32
jergul:

It's not a great move by the US - I'd still be slightly surprised if the EU really put the necessary will into doing this.

The idea of using the Euro as a reserve currency for China-Russia-Iran-EU trade seems a strategic no brainer in some senses, but given the EU cannot actually manage the Euro effectively as a reserve currency for the EU, I can't see anyone trusting the ECB doing what it takes to maintain liquidity for a global financial and trading system.

The flip side is precisely the whole "getting into bed with Russia and China" - undermining the effectiveness of Western economic clout ultimately weakens the EU. Irredeemable Atlanticist that I am, I think Trump will at some point depart, and once you break with the US here, it will be hard to use sanctions as a western policy lever in future.

But we shall see. I remain pessimistic.
murder
Member
Tue May 15 09:15:16

"On the one hand, it has a strong interest in trade with the US. On the other hand it has an interest in containing Iran's conventional and asymmetric reach. On another it has an interest in maintaining the containment of Iran's nuclear ambitions."

And on another hand the EU has an interest in appearing to be a credible trading block and not the US's bitch.

If it can't do that, then what is the point of it?

If the EU allows the US to dictate with where it can trade and on what terms, then what stops the US from imposing onerous conditions on direct trade between the EU and the US?

This is schoolyard 101. If you allow someone to knock you down and shove your face in the dirt without defending yourself, you better be ready for a steady diet of dirt.

This isn't about Iran, this is about the viability of the EU.

murder
Member
Tue May 15 09:41:20

"Unilateral withdrawal does not strongarm Iran into anything."

It does if it's not unilateral. If trade with Europe suffers, then the UK, France, and Germany are in it in name only.

You'd be left with a "deal" that constrains Iran in exchange for nothing.

At that point Iran's only options would be to return to the situation that existed before, or concede more.


Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue May 15 10:10:30
Murder has a point. This is more than a trade deal with Iran for the EU. What good is the EU, if the US can dictate it’s trade policy? Specially when the EU wants the deal in place and billions have already been invested in Iran. Fuck Trump and his Israel first policy or Fuck the EU and whatever power and influence it aspires to.
swordtail
Anarchist Prime
Tue May 15 10:29:31
"Fuck Trump and his Israel first policy or Fuck the EU and whatever power and influence it aspires to."

orgy?
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 10:59:00
murder:

"And on another hand the EU has an interest in appearing to be a credible trading block and not the US's bitch."

A credible trading block doesn't start pointless trade wars on points of minor geopolitical interest.

Iran isn't worth the candle of a trade war with the US. And geopolitical there are arguments why even if the EU could protect it's companies from US sanctions, it would be a bad thing in the long run when economic sanctions might be needed in the future. Creating a parallel mechanisms to allow companies to avoid US jurisdiction remove the political pressure for joint action in the future and might be exploited by companies or individual EU countries when sanctions are wanted/needed overall.

"Then what stops the US from imposing onerous conditions on direct trade between the EU and the US?"

Um, school yard metaphors are pretty rubbish, but if we are going to go there, lets say:

its one thing to punch someone in the face when they are stealing your lunch money; it is quite another thing to decide to risk your lunch money to stop the bully stealing someone else's.

The benefits to the EU of trade with Iran are minuscule compared to the trade with the US. The US can effectively force EU companies to choose between the two, and the costs of the EU to level the playing field are more than any benefit of the Iran deal in both economic terms and the (heavily discounted) geopolitical terms, and come with long term geopolitical costs too (which are also probably heavily discounted to be fair).

The bottom line is the US can always choose to withold access to it's markets, and thus force others to choose between doing business with the US, or with the target of it's sanctions. It's a fair choice in the end. As long as the US remains much more valuable than Iran as a trade partner...



Nim:
"What good is the EU, if the US can dictate it’s trade policy?"
Well, the US can always withold trade with the US. That's it's lever here. If you are looking for a way that the EU can somehow force open US markets to EU firms, you probably need to look to some sort of massive militarisation programme. That has been the historic way these things are done.

The EU can do the same of course. The problem is the EU is in the grip of Germany's ordoliberal delusions about export driven growth, which means the EU is increasingly dependent on the US (and other markets) as an export market for economic growth. Economic power really comes from making others dependent on you - so trade with you becoes indispensable.
murder
Member
Tue May 15 11:17:51

"A credible trading block doesn't start pointless trade wars on points of minor geopolitical interest."

This has nothing to do with points of minor geopolitical interest. This has everything to do with "WHO IS YOUR DADDY?!" (Well, not yours. You guys are leaving the EU.)

Either the EU determines it's policy, or the US does.

You can't hide from that. You can't deflect from it.

And if it's the US, the EU is pointless.



"Iran isn't worth the candle of a trade war with the US. And geopolitical there are arguments why even if the EU could protect it's companies from US sanctions, it would be a bad thing in the long run when economic sanctions might be needed in the future. Creating a parallel mechanisms to allow companies to avoid US jurisdiction remove the political pressure for joint action in the future and might be exploited by companies or individual EU countries when sanctions are wanted/needed overall."

Good god Seb! You sound like a battered wife trying to rationalize staying in an abusive relationship. You need to take that last beating because in the long run it's best for the children if they have a stable home.

murder
Member
Tue May 15 11:25:48

"its one thing to punch someone in the face when they are stealing your lunch money; it is quite another thing to decide to risk your lunch money to stop the bully stealing someone else's."

Except that not what's happening here. In this case the bully is taking Iran's money, and threatening to take yours too if you try to share your lunch with them.


"The benefits to the EU of trade with Iran are minuscule compared to the trade with the US. The US can effectively force EU companies to choose between the two, and the costs of the EU to level the playing field are more than any benefit of the Iran deal in both economic terms and the (heavily discounted) geopolitical terms, and come with long term geopolitical costs too (which are also probably heavily discounted to be fair)."

Every consequence you stated applied to the US too ... and yet it doesn't deter us. You know why? Because we smell pussy. We anticipate that the EU is just going to bend over and take it.

Appeasement is never the answer.

Seb
Member
Tue May 15 11:36:16
Murder:

Not strictly accurate. It's "you can not do business with us and Iran, and if you do we will fine you". The problem is that due to the use of the USD in international trade and finance, it's very hard for a company not to be doing business with the US if it is also doing business with Iran.

And any measures the EU can take are likely to simply transfer risk from companies to taxpayers; and exacerbate economic friction.

The situation is asymmetric. Because of the status of USD, it's really hard for EU companies to avoid breaking rules. Symmetric rules by the EU would be trivial for US to avoid. Ultimately, the EU probably could work with China and Russia to create an alternative settlement method - but to work it would require the EU doing things with the Euro that Germany absolutely does not want, and which mean when the EU does want to apply pressure through sanctions, China and Russia and it's own COs would likely be able to ignore it.

So, yes, the EU could fight this, but both immediately and in the long term it would end up worse off.
jergul
large member
Tue May 15 12:21:14
Seb
Perhaps when seen in isolation. But this is not the only sanction regime EU is part of that hurts it disproportionately.

I think the US is very close to the edge in its brinkmanship.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Tue May 15 14:13:08
>>Economic power really comes from making others dependent on you - so trade with you becoes indispensable.<<

Yes, this. Why does no one think of doing this to Iran? Iran stands outside most of the global economic orgs, treaties, when we had the financial crisis, Iran was booming, that is the level of disconnect.
Seb
Member
Tue May 15 15:16:46
Hey, I'm pro engagement Nim.
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed May 16 14:43:13
http://www...e-lose-its-illusions-says-tusk

Trump helped Europe lose its illusions, says Tusk
The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, has said the European Union should be grateful to US President Donald Trump, for forcing it to rid itself of all illusions.

Speaking to reporters before an EU summit in Bulgaria, he accused Washington of "capricious assertiveness" in abandoning the Iran nuclear deal and imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.
murder
Member
Wed May 16 15:38:09

You're welcome? :o)

jergul
large member
Wed May 16 15:52:54
Thank you?
Nimatzo
iChihuaha
Wed May 16 16:24:27
I guess?
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 03:58:41
SOFIA, May 17. /TASS/. Participants of the EU summit have decided to support the Iran nuclear deal and protect European businesses from the US steps, French President Emmanuel Macron said as he arrived for the EU-Western Balkans summit in Sofia on Thursday.

"We had a substantive discussion on Iran. The 2015 deal is an important element of peace and security in the region, and we decided to back it regardless of the US decision. We promised to take political measures allowing our enterprises to remain in Iran," Macron said.


More:
http://tass.com/world/1004719
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 07:50:21
What are political measures?

I'd have thought economic or legislative measures if serious.

Political measures sound like some lobbying and declarations.
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 08:08:00
Seb
A bit early for that? Avoiding 3rd party sanctions can be attempted politically within the 150 day window.
Seb
Member
Thu May 17 10:33:48
Fair enough - just to say this doesn't look like it is really sufficient to tell how far EU will or won't go. We are still in the "costs nothing so lets announce it" phase of things.

The question is, will it go any further?
jergul
large member
Thu May 17 10:37:17
Seb
I am rabidly ambivalent.

jergul
large member
Fri May 18 03:37:36
The EU is to begin reviving legislation that will allow European companies to continue doing business with Iran, despite US sanctions.

The so-called "blocking statute" was introduced in 1996 to circumvent US sanctions on Cuba but was never used.

On Friday, the EU will begin redrafting and preparing the legislation so it applies to the latest Iran sanctions.

It will prohibit European companies from complying with the penalties and permit compensation for affected firms.

Washington is re-imposing strict sanctions on Iran, which were lifted under a 2015 international deal to control the country's nuclear ambitions.

The impact of Iran sanctions
Winners and losers as Trump quits Iran deal
The EU's billion-dollar deals at risk

Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said the statute was being introduced to protect European firms.

"It's the duty of the EU to protect European business and that applies in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises," he told a news conference following a summit of EU leaders in Bulgaria on Thursday.

He added that the legislation was designed to deal with "extra-territorial" sanctions when they have an impact on the EU.
Seb
Member
Fri May 18 04:01:46
Jergul:

As I recall, the actual power of the blocking sanctions is limited. Not only has integration increased, primarily it was effective by leaving the US exposed/isolated which trump doesn't care about.

It can protect EU businesses that have no footprint in the US, but if they do business in the US (hold data there, use USD etc.) they become exposed.

So EU based global business has a choice: play in US/global markets, or play in EU + Iranian ones.

Now if the EU and China created a parallel system of finance etc. then that choice would reverse quite a lot.

But I think the EU would be daft to do that - it would effectively cede global hegemony to China as EU governance is far too weak and easily disrupted and influenced by determined outsiders. See 16+1 group.

Trump is an abberation - the EU would be wise to see if this is the new normal before taking too drastic a move.
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 04:38:41
Seb
The trade volume is very small. No need to rearrange the global economic order to cover pocket-change.

But I am rabidly ambivalent.

Lets see the wording on the legislature before deciding what it does.
Seb
Member
Fri May 18 05:30:18
Volume small so not worth it to make it possible for Total say to invest in Iran; and without that, no matter how lucrative Iran might be to Total, it won't invest
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 05:54:10
We need to see the wording before making calls. But we are talking about trade and investment in the 10s of billions, not 100ds.

It is part of a bigger problem though. Starting perhaps with Cuba, to the shakedown of BP over the spill in the Mexican Gulf, to enduring Russian sanctions, to Iran, to pipelines bypassing Ukraine.

For how long should the EU shoot itself in the foot economically to follow up sanction regimes where the US has no skin in the game?

Particularly as the EU has to deliver economically to its members to remain a viable project.
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 05:59:13
BRUSSELS, May 18. /TASS/. The European Commission on Friday passed the first package of measures on protecting the interests of EU companies investing in Iran from US sanctions, nullifying them on the EU territory, the official statement said.

"Following the green light of EU leaders at the informal meeting in Sofia (the EU-Western Balkans summit on May 16-17) , the European Commission has today taken steps to preserve the interests of European companies investing in Iran and demonstrate the EU's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the Iran nuclear deal," the document said.


The European Commission has acted on four fronts. The first step was to activate the "blocking statute" that "forbids EU companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgements based on them," the document says. The goal is to have the measure in force before August 6, 2018, when the first batch of US sanctions take effect.

The second step will be to "remove obstacles for the European Investment Bank (EIB) to decide under the EU budget guarantee to finance activities outside the European Union, in Iran."

The European Commission will also "continue and strengthen the ongoing sectoral cooperation with, and assistance to, Iran, including in the energy sector and with regard to small and medium-sized companies." Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete will travel to Tehran this weekend.

The European Commission is also encouraging member-states to "explore the possibility of one-off bank transfers to the Central Bank of Iran." "This approach could help the Iranian authorities to receive their oil-related revenues, particularly in case of US sanctions which could target EU entities active in oil transactions with Iran," the document says. According to European sources, this measure may become the EU’s first step towards ditching dollar in trade with Iran.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington quit the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which curbed Tehran’s nuclear activity in exchange for lifting the UN Security Council’s sanctions and unilateral restrictions introduced by the US and the EU. The White House said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) provides Iran with opportunities for creating a nuclear bomb by evading all current restrictions. Trump vowed to reinstate the previous sanctions and introduce new restrictions should Tehran carry out its nuclear ambitions. The US president called for signing a new deal with Tehran. Meanwhile, Washington put forward demands, which cannot be implemented.

In the wake of Trump’s decision, the leaders of the United Kingdom, Germany and France called on other participants in the deal to continue fulfilling it. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran would not abandon the JCPOA and would continue to comply with its obligations.


More:
http://tass.com/world/1004957
Seb
Member
Fri May 18 07:16:51
The blocking legislation is weak sauce. Doesn't really help - they need to do no business in the US for anything to be extra-territorial. Recovery of costs from US federal govt via EU courts is likely to be as effective as vice versa, and the risk remains with the company.

Using the EIB and EU national banks to act as the guarantor and payments mechanism is more effective, but not particularly scaleable and runs the rusk of undermining the EIB.

Denominating Iran's oil trade in Euros creates other risks for Iran or traders in it as it creates currency movement risks. I think there will also be traders hesitant to buy Iranian oil in Euros and sell it in Dollars for fear of falling foul of US restrictions.
Ultimately the oil will then trade at a discount.

So Iranian oil becomes less fungible, and there is a slight risk to the EU in becoming a bigger customer of Iranian oil (which will now be cheaper and may displace other providers) - which the EU ought to think carefully about recalling the whole Iraq sanctions debacle, and the leverage Russia holds within the EU via countries that have deeper ties with Russia either through oil or trade.






jergul
large member
Fri May 18 07:37:28
Seb
These are actually things the Trump administration should have thought carefully through before deciding to withdraw from the Iranian deal.

The logic of continued Russian sanctions have pretty much collapsed with the US withdrawal anyway. Trading partners always have leverage. Its not a bad thing and is indeed the founding logic of the EEC itself.

If you cannot reason with the Trump administration, then all kinds of punative measures become meaningless and harmful only to EU interests (there is no US in both the EU and the USA).

So subsidary operations and niche corporations geared towards non-us markets exclusively.

The only thing happening is the creation of a risk premium that is disadvantagous to Iran (but far less so than the renewal of sanctions) and advantagous to the EU if it positions itself, and otherwise to China and to some degree Russia.
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 08:15:23
SOCHI, May 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have held a brief conversation in Russian with German Chancellor Angela Merkel while welcoming the German delegation that had arrived for talks to Putin’s Sochi residence. The footage was broadcast by the Rossiya 24 TV channel.

Putin met Merkel at the entrance to the residence and presented her with a bouquet of cream-colored roses, freesias and other flowers in pastel colors. Medvedev, who had earlier held a meeting with Putin on the composition of the country’s new cabinet, also welcomed the German chancellor.

The German chancellor shook hands with Medvedev and congratulated him on forming the cabinet. The Russian prime minister replied that "it is capable, ready to work." "So we are looking forward to contacting [the German government]," he added, addressing Merkel.


More:
http://tass.com/politics/1005063

===========

So Merkel flew from Sofia to Sochi. I would read that as a signal.
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 08:17:10
MOSCOW, May 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron will discuss the situation around the Iran nuclear deal, Syria and Ukraine in St. Petersburg on May 24-25, the Kremlin press service said on Friday.

Read also
Macron: EU summit decides to back Iran deal, protect European businesses

"Talks at the highest level are scheduled to be held to discuss the development of Russian-French cooperation and topical international and regional issues, including the situation around the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iran nuclear program, the Syrian settlement and the internal Ukrainian crisis," the statement said.

A number of joint documents have been drawn up for signing.

The French leader will pay an official visit to St. Petersburg on May 24-25 at Putin’s invitation. He will be an honorary guest of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum will be held on May 24-26. SPIEF has been held since 1997, and since 2006, it has been held under the auspices of the Russian president, who has also attended each event. Over the past 20 years, the Forum has become a leading global platform for members of the business community to meet and discuss the key economic issues facing Russia, emerging markets, and the world as a whole.


More:
http://tass.com/politics/1004983

==============

Or more correctly, the US should read these things as signals.
Seb
Member
Fri May 18 08:34:30
jergul:

The question the EU should be asking is "what is the impact we want to have with Iran", relatively speaking, given how EU governance works, for those in the EU that want to see Iran kept on the straight and narrow, cutting out the US isn't that optimal either.

There is a strong danger of vested interests in Iran being concentrated and hinders the ability of the EU to reach a position on what changes in Iran it wants to see.

Asking the US to "think", when that means basically the Trump white house, is kinda a weird observation. Those in the US that think no doubt did think this through. They are not in charge of anything right now though.

I think you are probably discounting the EU's fragmented decision making too much. If the EU was a unitary state, I'd agree with you. But it's not, and the bits of the EU that do want to chart a strategic direction in the world still very much rely on the US as a catalyst not only for outward effect but for aligning and coordinating EU states.
Seb
Member
Fri May 18 08:40:00
N.B. on that latter point, Brexit is not great.

Talking to colleagues in the EU organs, the comparative lack of British engagement for the last ten years (partly because we aren't involved in the most important fora economically, partly due to the political decisions taken e.g. Cameron leaving the conservative block, not wanting to put the effort into EU work, etc.) has been unhelpful as the entire process relies on a big country tipping the balance between France and Germany.

Without that, forming a consensus becomes harder. The same is true in foreign politics. It's not necessarily going to be possible for the EU alone to formulate a decisive foreign policy, or even agree desirable outcomes.

Throw in things like the 16+1 block, the Eastern fringes rejection of Liberalism, and a picture emerges of a lot of power which cannot be mobilised effectively. This is exacerbated if the people being influenced find their leverage is far more concentrated than the simple aggregate weightings of relative power might look.

So, trying to go it's own way at this point has quite considerable risks for the EU.
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 08:43:43
Seb
Would those bits thinking in strategic directions be the ones visiting Putin in Sochi today and in Saint Petersburg next week?

The US cut itself out. Keeping Iran on the straight and narrow was pretty much assured by the expiration dates on certain processes.

Its not really the EUs business to formulate positions on what changes in Iran it wants to see.

The US cut itself out again. It should have thought through and acted on those thoughts. That did not happen, so concequences follow.

EU decisionmaking is about to become a lot less fragmented. See Brexit.
jergul
large member
Fri May 18 08:48:21
Seb
The EU is not trying to go its own way. It is trying to meet its agreement responsibilities.

For going its own way - See the US.

The EU has to take the lead. For better or for worse.

It did just conclude a decisive foreign policy and agree on desirable outcomes. This thread is about that.
murder
Member
Fri May 18 10:02:22

"Or more correctly, the US should read these things as signals."

Why would the Trump administration care? It has already secured a better deal by simply withdrawing and reimposing sanctions. Even if the EU moves to protect European companies from US sanctions, the rest of the world is still subject to it, which to whatever extent will hurt Iran.

So Iran is committed to complying with the deal in exchange for fewer if any benefits.

Trump wins.

Of course, I maintain that the "EU" is complicit in all this so I guess they win too.

jergul
large member
Fri May 18 10:24:03
Murder
It won't care, or possibly even favour the move (if we believe the narrative that Trump is only reluctantly distanced from Putin) It simply is responsible to signal that the EU will find other ways if the US insists on following its current course.

I don't know what to say about the rest. Its a given that Iran will pay a risk premium, but the important thing is economic stability really. A few billion here or there does not matter.

I would argue that establishing an international exchange disconnected from the USD serves Iran well.

As would a move towards international subsidiaries and corporations that deal in non-US markets exclusively.

Sure Trump is winning. But in a way that encourages others not to play with him anymore.
Seb
Member
Fri May 18 13:21:56
Jergul:

"Would those bits thinking in strategic directions be the ones visiting Putin in Sochi today and in Saint Petersburg next week?"

Do you think Merkel is strategic? Interesting.

"Its not really the EUs business to formulate positions on what changes in Iran it wants to see."

So you think the EU has no interest in Syria then? An interesting position given the huge impact Syrian refugees have had on EU politics.

"EU decisionmaking is about to become a lot less fragmented. See Brexit."

So why are the Nordic and Dutch forming a new block? The UK acted to hold the balance between France and Germany, and represented the liberal minded countries in the big three.

Seeing the UK as purely representative of itself is silly. We wouldn't have had the remarkable string of getting what we wanted out of the EU for so long if we didn't have an alliance of countries with similar view points.

Rather than becoming more united, instead what's happened is that it's harder to form a coalition that commands a majority.

Your references to "the US should have" are strange. I'm writing from an EU perspective here. If the EUs best interests are dependent on what the US should have done, that's a damning indictment about how unready the EU is to take on a geopolitical role.

jergul
large member
Fri May 18 17:43:22
Seb
The EU is best served with strong atlantic ties with a stable and rational United States. Which alas no longer exists.

The UK has always represented atlantic ties. For better or for worse until its commitment to those ties ended in its natural conclusion.

Perhaps it will be reborn. Who knows.

Fragmented to you means various interest blocks promoting various agendas? Fragmented to me means following paths set by outside influences.

What an odd leap to Syria. But hopefully the EU can see it is in its own best interests to aid reconstruction and the development of institutions in that country.

Merkel is a strategist. How many years has she been in power now?
Seb
Member
Sat May 19 04:22:39
jergul:

"Which alas no longer exists."

That's a rash judgement. It's certainly going through a crisis - but crises don't need to lead to an inevitable collapse.

"Fragmented to you means various interest blocks promoting various agendas?"

Fragmented means unable to form a consensus needed to take action at an EU level.

The UK leaving simply makes it harder to create a consensus - if the UK was the only representative of a particular liberal incrementalist view we wouldn't have been remotely as successful. Regrettably, too many countries found it easier to free ride on the UKs position so they can straddle the fence of being "good europeans" while still getting a block on the excessive federalism of the commission and others - thus feeding the myth of "UK vs EU" which has contributed to the present situation.

China and Russia are ruthlessly exploiting the fragmentation of the EU: Russia stiring the balkan pot and the periphery, and China seeking to form coalitions of EU nations for "special co-operation" and using 1 belt 1 road to proffer an alternative to EU structural funds.

What an odd leap to Syria? The underlying basis of US objections to the deal with Iran is "even if we got denuclearisation, Iran got the benefits of a nuke without it, and continues to destabilize the region".

"is in its own best interests to aid reconstruction and the development of institutions in that country."

Is it though? Surveys of the refugees that have arrived in Europe show them to be fleeing Assad.

"Merkel is a strategist. How many years has she been in power now?"
Delaying decisions, and then jumping the fence to the side that won in order to maintain power is a fine personal strategy only for staying in office. I'm not sure it's a strategy for being in power per-se, given the approach requires abdication of any ability to set a course. Events drive her, and she rides events. She does not shape events, she does not solve problems, she kicks the can down the road. The one exception being the refugees, and she learned her lesson.
jergul
large member
Sat May 19 04:41:37
Seb
The US is actually ruthlessly exploiting the EUs willingness to bend its own interests in the name of transatlantic solidarity.

Russia is under EU sanction. You would sort of expect the minimum threshold for ruthless exploitation would be to not be sanctioned. My personal feeling is that Russian and Israeli sanctions should be aligned (sanction both the same way).

And how exactly is China ruthlessly exploiting the EU?

The whole point of the NPT is for nations to get the benefits of nuclear power status without manufacturing nuclear weapons.

The conditions required for people to return is that they are safe. This requires institutional reform and reconstruction. For removing Assad: See voting in presidential elections.

At some point you should start to realize that being attached at the hip to trump's America (including the legislatures) is not in the EUs best interests.

A balanced position in a multipolar world following international law is (which is ultimately Merkel's strategy).

I am rabidly ambivalent to this mainly because I am ultimately quite conservative and transition is always disruptive.
murder
Member
Sat May 19 07:45:44

"That's a rash judgement. It's certainly going through a crisis - but crises don't need to lead to an inevitable collapse."

1/2 the US is unrepentant racists who hate women, don't believe in science, sneer at education, and don't recognize any difference between fact, fiction, and opinion.

There's only 2 options here:

1. Collapse
2. Culling

And the 1/2 that would have to carry out #2 simply doesn't have the stomach for it.

jergul
large member
Sat May 19 07:49:04
Murder
I was not speaking of a US collapse, but rather acknowledging that the basis for strong transatlantic bonds currently do not exist.
murder
Member
Sat May 19 07:54:31

Never mind. It seems that jergul was referring to "strong Atlantic ties" and not "a stable and rational United States".

But the ^ post stands on it's own. :o)

murder
Member
Sat May 19 07:55:21
Yeah I got that after the fact. That's what I get for reading out of order and not all the way through.
jergul
large member
Sat May 19 08:43:46
Murder
I think you pay the attention the posts deserve :).
murder
Member
Sat May 19 10:58:35
lol :o)
Daemon
Member
Wed May 30 06:26:53
http://www...ons-by-jeffrey-d-sachs-2018-05

Europe Must Confront America’s Extraterritorial Sanctions
May 17, 2018

Jeffrey D. Sachs

Europe’s biggest challenge in resisting US sanctions on Iran is not legal or even geopolitical. It is psychological: European leaders act as if the US still cares about a trans-Atlantic alliance of shared interests, values, and approaches.



NEW YORK – Donald Trump’s renunciation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran and the reimposition of US sanctions on that country threaten global peace. Europe’s security depends on defending the agreement with Iran despite the US withdrawal. That, in turn, requires Europe, along with Russia, China, and other United Nations member states, to ensure that economic relations with Iran can develop. And that can happen only if Europe confronts, and ultimately overturns, America’s extraterritorial sanctions, which aim to deter trade and financial activities with Iran by non-US actors.

The purpose of Trump’s move is clear and indeed explicit: to topple the Iranian regime. Given this folly, European citizens accurately sense that Europe’s security interests are no longer closely aligned with those of the United States.

America’s bullying approach to Iran has been seconded – indeed championed – by two Middle Eastern allies of the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia. Israel invokes US power to avoid having to make any compromises with the Palestinians. Saudi Arabia invokes US military power to contain its regional rival, Iran. Both are hoping for a direct US war with Iran.

America’s previous efforts at regime change in the Middle East yielded horrendous results for the US and Europe (to say nothing of the disasters that befell the countries caught up in the US-provoked mayhem). Such “wars of choice” have been the major factor in the surge of migration to Europe from the Middle East and North Africa. Even when regime change has “succeeded,” as in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya, the aftermath has been violence and instability. And when regime change has failed, as in Syria, the result has been ongoing war.

The humiliating failure of French President Emmanuel Macron, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to convince Trump to remain in the JCPOA was predictable. The US decision reflects two converging forces: a deep-seated foreign-policy tendency – manifested by all recent US administrations – to seek hegemony in the Middle East, and Trump’s peculiar brand of psychopathy. Trump delights in embarrassing European leaders; their squirming is his triumph.



Yet they are not powerless. The agreement with Iran can still be salvaged, precisely because it is a multilateral agreement, endorsed by the UN Security Council (Resolution 2231), not an agreement solely between the US and Iran. Indeed, under Article 25 of the UN Charter, all UN member states, including the US, are obligated to fulfill the JCPOA. Trump’s withdrawal of the US from the JCPOA is itself a violation of international law.


The essence of the JCPOA and Resolution 2231 is Iran’s cessation of activities that could lead to the development of nuclear weapons. Strict compliance by Iran is linked to the normalization of international economic relations, including the lifting of UN-agreed sanctions.

Even if the US now absents itself from the JCPOA, it has only two means to block the implementation of the agreement between Iran and the rest of the world. The first would be to foment war. This clearly is on the US agenda, especially with the neoconservative doyen John Bolton back in the White House as National Security Adviser. The world must steadfastly resist another ruinous US military adventure.

Extraterritorial sanctions are the second way the US could kill the JCPOA. It is one thing for the US to decide that it will not trade with Iran. It is quite another for the US government to attempt to block trade with Iran by non-US parties. This is America’s intention; it is up to Europe and China to defeat it, in the interest of global peace, as well as in their own direct economic interest.

In practical terms, the US will be able to enforce anti-Iran sanctions on companies operating in its domestic market, and most likely on subsidiaries of US firms operating abroad. Yet the US will try to go much further, by trying to block non-US companies from dealing with Iran. The US will probably succeed in clamping down on dollar-based transactions, as these are generally cleared through the US banking system. The real issue will come with non-US companies operating outside of the US and interacting with Iran via non-dollar currencies such as the euro and renminbi.

The US will certainly try to punish such companies, whether by targeting their local subsidiaries, by trying to haul them into US courts, or by denying them access to the US market. Here is where the European Union must take a strong stand and move beyond begging Trump for “waivers” for specific European business deals, a process that would make European countries even more subservient to Trump’s whims. Europe should defend a firm and unequivocal “No” to US extraterritorial sanctions, notably on companies operating in non-dollar currencies.

The EU should insist that extraterritorial sanctions violate international law (including the Resolution 2231 and therefore the UN Charter) and the rules of the World Trade Organization. They should recognize that acquiescence would be tantamount to handing the US a blank check to set the rules of war and peace beyond the UN Security Council, and the rules of global trade beyond the World Trade Organization. The EU should be prepared to use the WTO dispute resolution process against the US, and to bring its case to the UN Security Council and General Assembly. Where Europe is afraid to tread, China will surely swoop in to capitalize on business opportunities in Iran. And China would be right to do so.

Europe’s biggest challenge is not legal or even geopolitical. It is psychological. European leaders act as if the US still cares about a trans-Atlantic alliance of shared interests, values, and approaches. Sadly, this is no longer the case.

The US and Europe do still have many shared interests; but they have many divergent ones as well, especially when the US violates international law. Europe needs its own security policy, just as it needs its own trade and environmental policies. The showdown over the JCPOA is therefore a moment of truth. World peace depends on Europe’s defense of the UN Charter and the rules of international trade.





Jeffrey D. Sachs, Professor of Sustainable Development and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University, is Director of Columbia’s Center for Sustainable Development and of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network. His books include The End of Poverty, Common Wealth, The Age of Sustainable Development, and, most recently, Building the New American Economy.
murder
Member
Wed May 30 10:15:47
^ 100%

This isn't really about Iran. This is about whether the EU is a world power, or just America's battered spouse.


jergul
large member
Wed May 30 16:08:10
The EU is certainly a battered spouse. The question is if it can move on.
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