News ID: 219613
Published: 0218 GMT August 09, 2018

Switzerland backs Iran trade despite US sanctions

Switzerland backs Iran trade despite US sanctions

Economic Desk

Turkish FM: US sanctions won’t affect Iran ties

Russia warns Iran bans entail 'destructive' repercussions  

Switzerland on Thursday vowed to defend its companies doing business with Iran in the face of US renewed sanctions, recommending Swiss firms to pursue their business relations with the Islamic Republic on an informed basis.

“[The government] recommends that companies pursue their commercial relations with Iran and inform themselves about the situation,” Fabian Maienfisch of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) said.

New US sanctions against Iran came into force on Tuesday targeting dollars, metals trading, coal, industrial software and its auto sector despite outcries from American allies. The move follows Washington reneging on a 2015 deal to lift sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear program. The deal was signed between Iran and six world powers – the US, the UK, France, Russia, China and Germany. A second batch of bans will be reimposed in November with the aim of curtailing Iran’s oil exports and shipping sectors.

US President Donald Trump said on Tuesday companies doing business with Iran will be barred from the United States. He decided in May to unilaterally abandon the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a landmark nuclear deal that was approved by the UN Security Council.

European countries, hoping to persuade Iran to continue to respect the deal, have promised to try to lessen the blow of sanctions and to urge their firms not to pull out. But that has proved difficult: European companies have quit Iran, arguing that they cannot risk their US business.

Maienfisch said “Switzerland regrets that the sanctions situation in relation to Iran is again deteriorating but noted that “US decisions on sanctions do not affect the legal situation in Switzerland with regard to Iran."

The Swiss federal government would defend Swiss economic interests but cannot dictate the reaction of companies to the new climate, he said.

Some European companies have announced that they would halt their activities in Iran to avoid US punishments. Some others, however, have insisted they would remain in the country.

Swiss-based Nestle, the world's biggest food company which produces infant formula and cereals as well as bottled water in Iran, said on Tuesday that it sees no direct fallout from renewed US sanctions on the country.


Turkey in defiance

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Thursday his country is resolved to expand ties with Iran despite US threats to punish governments that violate the sanctions.

“Time and again we have made it clear that we will not implement US sanctions against Iran,” Cavusoglu said as he met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s special envoy Mahmoud Vaezi in Ankara.

Before their meeting, Vaezi met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and delivered a message from Rouhani.

Cavusoglu hailed Iran’s decision to stay in the deal after Trump’s pullout.

Turkish Energy Minister Fatih Donmez said Wednesday that Ankara would continue to buy gas from Iran under a long-term supply deal between the two neighbors.

The minister said he was going to raise the issue of “unilateral” sanctions and their effect on Turkey’s energy imports with American officials in upcoming talks in Washington.

“We adopted the United Nations sanctions on Iran in the past. Even the European Union is extremely annoyed by today’s situation. We are conducting legitimate trade here, which is of great importance in terms of supply security,” he said.

Turkey imports almost all of its energy needs and Iran is one of the biggest suppliers of natural gas and oil to the country.


US 'destructive' move

Russia on Thursday slammed the US renewal of sanctions on Iran as a "destructive step" that could destabilize the already-volatile Middle East region.

Addressing a news briefing, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, said "Washington’s course at bringing down the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the Iranian nuclear program and restoring full-scale pressure through sanctions is absolutely destructive," referring to the Iran deal by its official name.

Zakharova further said the Trump administration's measures would entail "long-term deplorable consequences for global nonproliferation [of the weapons of mass destruction] and will impart a destabilizing impulse to the situation in the Middle East."

The Russian Foreign Ministry released a statement on Tuesday and criticized the US for violating UN Security Council Resolution 2231 that endorsed the Iran deal.

“We denounce any unilateral sanctions in circumvention of the UN Security Council decisions, all the more so if they have exterritorial applications and affect the interests of third countries, as is the case with the current US restrictions against Iran," the statement said.

Russia has vowed to reinforce its relations with Iran in all sectors now that the US has left the accord and chosen to build up economic pressure on the Islamic Republic.

Reuters and Press TV contributed to this story.


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