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US Envoy Warns Europe Against Non-dollar Iran Trade

US Envoy Warns Europe Against Non-dollar Iran Trade

Friday, 16 November, 2018 - 08:30
Photo posted on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Twitter page on his meeting with US Envoy to Iran Brian Hook on Thursday.
Tel Aviv, Tehran - Asharq Al-Awsat
US Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook on Thursday warned European banks and companies involved in a European Union special initiative to protect trade with Iran from being at risk of US sanctions.

It is “no surprise” that EU efforts to establish a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for non-dollar trade with Iran were floundering over fear in EU capitals that hosting it would incur US punishment, Hook said, adding: “European banks and companies know that we will vigorously enforce sanctions against this brutal and violent regime.”

Hook was commenting on statements by six European diplomats quoted by Reuters, who said that European efforts were underway to legalize the SPV this month, although it would not be implemented until next year.

According to Reuters, the diplomats said that Brussels had wanted to have the SPV set up by this month, but no country has offered to host it.

“Any major European company will always choose the American market over the Iranian market,” Hook affirmed.

Reuters said the SPV was conceived as a clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement circumventing US sanctions, based on global use of the dollar for oil sales.

During a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday in Jerusalem, Hook said the economic and financial sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump’s administration on Iran "contribute to peace and stability in the Middle East."

The US official’s visit to Israel comes as part of a tour to the region, where he met senior Israeli government officials. Netanyahu’s office said that talks focused on efforts to curb the Iranian aggression.

In Tehran, National Security and Foreign Policy committee Chairman Hashmatullah Faisah Bishah commented on reports that Austria had refused to host the proposed European mechanism, saying that time has revealed Europe’s stalling in practically cooperating with Iran.

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