Europe, China, Russia vow to dodge Trump’s new Iran sanctions

September 25, 2018

UNITED NATIONS | The remaining members of the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord say theyre committed to finding ways to bypass economic sanctions being reimposed on Tehran by the U.S. following President Trumps withdrawal from the Obama-era deal.European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini made the assertion after meeting with top diplomats from France, Britain, Germany, China and Russia on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly taking place in New York City this week.In a statement before President Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivered competing speeches at the General AssemblyTuesday, the EU foreign policy office said efforts are underway to establish special payment channels so foreign companies doing business with Iran can avoid being caught up in the reimposed U.S. sanctions.The remaining members of the nuclear deal are committed to pursuing concrete and effective measures to securethe continuation of Irans export of oil and gas condensate, petroleum products and petrochemicals, the statement said.The assertion about oil exports from Iran flies in the face of current Trump administration efforts to convince the European allies, as well as China, Russia and others, to uphold a U.S.-led global embargo on Iranian oil by November.The embargo push is part of the administrations wider nuclear deal pullout, which Mr. Trump announced in May and has since featured a re-imposition of U.S. sanctions against Tehran that Washington had lifted under deal three years ago in exchange for limits to Irans nuclear programs.Mr. Trump’s withdrawal from the deal has been resisted by the other world powers who signed the accord with the then-Obama administration in 2015. But Trump administration officials argue the pullout was necessary because the deal failed to address Iranian ballistic missile programs and support for proxy militias peppered around the Middle East.

While recent months have seen dozens of major European and Asian companies pulling investments from Iran to avoid getting tangled up in the reimposed U.S. sanctions, the statement at the U.N. by remaining signatories to the deal suggests they intend to take against Washington particularly with regard to Mr. Trumps push for an oil embargo.Analysts say European leaders are frustrated by the prospect of not being able to cut deals with Tehran for oil and gas purchases without facing backlash from Washington.The Trump administration is unlikely to yield. In addition to Mr. Trumps speech at the U.N.on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to outline Washingtons renewed attempts to isolate Tehran in an event titled the United Against Nuclear Iran Summit in New Yorkon Tuesdayafternoon.

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