Iran General NewsEU, Russia resist U.S. on Iran sanctions - diplomats

EU, Russia resist U.S. on Iran sanctions – diplomats

-

Reuters: The United States is urging its allies to go beyond U.N. sanctions against Iran over its atomic programme and choke off foreign investment, but it is meeting strong Russian and European resistance, Western diplomats said. By Louis Charbonneau

BERLIN (Reuters) – The United States is urging its allies to go beyond U.N. sanctions against Iran over its atomic programme and choke off foreign investment, but it is meeting strong Russian and European resistance, Western diplomats said.

“A number of countries, especially Russia, feel the U.S. is bullying them to end even legitimate business with Iran due to the nuclear dispute,” a senior Western official told Reuters.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution in December imposing limited sanctions on Iran for refusing to suspend its nuclear enrichment programme, which Western countries fear is aimed at making atomic bombs.

But Washington is trying to get its allies to adopt punitive measures beyond the U.N. sanctions against Tehran, which says its atomic programme is to make electricity.

“We are certainly interested in working not only with the Europeans, but with all members of the U.N. to make sure that (the resolution’s) implemented in full,” U.S. State Department deputy spokesman Tom Casey told reporters in Washington.

U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said this month European governments should curtail billions of euros of export credits available for trade with Iran. He also criticised arms deals Russia and China have with Tehran.

“The U.S. goal is to make it virtually impossible to invest in Iran. It’s not about stopping sales of dual-use technology. They’re trying to keep investors out of Iran and are working hard to keep the price of oil low,” said a European diplomat.

“They (the U.S.) think that this is what will hurt Iran most and I think they’re right,” he added.

RUSSIAN COMPLAINT

A diplomat from an EU country that is also in the Group of Eight (G8) club of developed states said Iranian sanctions were discussed at a meeting of G8 officials in Berlin last week.

He said Russian officials had complained at the Berlin meeting that the sanctions were hurting them more than any other country because of their close business ties with Iran.

“The exposure of Russian banks in New York is enormous,” said the EU diplomat. “They can’t ignore the U.S. pressure (not to deal with Iran) and Moscow doesn’t like it.”

Germany currently holds both the G8 and EU presidencies. The G8 members are the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia.

Some large EU countries with major trade relations with Iran like Germany and Italy continue to resist the U.S. pressure. Washington wants allies to end all business with Iran by preventing financial transactions and freezing assets of certain Iranians and Iranian companies.

“U.S. treasury department officials have been touring Europe to make sure officials and companies know that they’ve got to put more pressure on Iran,” another EU diplomat said.

There are other EU members resisting the U.S. crackdown, among them Austria and Spain, diplomats said.

EU diplomats in Brussels said Britain and France managed to cajole other member states into last week’s accord among foreign ministers for a full and fast implementation of U.N. sanctions.

Those sanctions ban the transfer of sensitive nuclear materials to Iran, freeze financial assets of those linked with the nuclear programme and ask countries to pass on information about those on the list.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said in Brussels he was optimistic the sanctions resolution “is going to be implemented to the fullest by EU member countries.”

“In the last (EU) General Affairs Council, we had an agreement to look at how the sanctions can be continued to other people, to companies,” he said.

Still, Washington remains frustrated with what it sees as the slow place of the EU in implementing measures that could pressure the Iranian government, a U.S. official said.

(Additional reporting by Mark John and David Brunnstrom in Brussels, Paul Eckert in Washington and Sophie Walker in London)

Latest news

Iran: People of Khoy Still Reeling From 5.9-Magnitude Earthquake

An earthquake with a magnitude of 5.9 struck northwest Iran on Saturday, killing at least three people and injuring...

Iran’s Unsolvable Air Pollution Problem

Air pollution will remain at dangerous levels and will increase for the next few days in most big cities,...

The World Must Acknowledge the Iranian People’s Right to Self-defense

Victor Hugo once said: “When dictatorship is a fact, revolution becomes a right.” Throughout history, this has been the...

Iran: 60% Of Population Is Poor

The livelihood baskets of the Iranian people are shrinking dramatically. This, in turn, has introduced new concerns to protect...

The implications of EU’s terrorist designation of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC)

The European Parliament called on January 18 for the European Union to list Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a...

Iran’s Regime Is Hiding Human Rights Violations In Its Prisons

With more than four months into Iran’s latest round of nationwide uprisings, the brutality of the Iranian regime’s security...

Must read

Tehran’s nuclear duplicity

Washington Times - Editorial: Iranian officials openly brag to...

100,000 French citizens call for an end to pressure on Iran dissidents

Iran Focus: Paris, Jun. 16 – An array of...

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you