Remaining members of the Iran nuclear deal have worked out an agreement with Iran to find a way to continue business with the country despite U.S. sanctions, BBC reports.
Under the sanctions from the United States, any financial transactions with the Iranian government — or with companies and individuals linked to the Iranian regime — would be frozen by the U.S. should they involve the U.S. financial system.
The proposed system will allow businesses — mostly oil companies — to keep trading with Iran. This would be achieved by eschewing the U.S. dollar, and potentially bypassing the American market. Determining the exact methodology and financial details is the next step required in the ongoing negotiations between the EU and Iran — with no information available as yet as to how that will occur.
Negotiations between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia, and the EU took place at the U.N. this week ahead of the General Assembly. The EU foreign policy head, Federica Mogherini, made the announcement in a statement — saying that the EU is looking to “protect the freedom of their economic operators to pursue legitimate business with Iran.”
The original deal, termed the “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” was worked out under Barack Obama’s presidency. The plan saw Iran agree to curtail its nuclear activities in exchange for the lifting of several sanctions — allowing trade with more nations.
#IranDeal EU Member States will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran. This will allow European companies to continue trade with Iran, within EU law, and could be opened to other partners in the world @FedericaMog https://t.co/Rcq2sfNHGb pic.twitter.com/FQsMgLge9g
— European External Action Service – EEAS ???????? (@eu_eeas) September 25, 2018
There has been no policy response from the United States to the announcement yet, though the current administration may be waiting to see some details of the deal before offering any formal comment.
Whether the new plan is workable or not is still a matter of dispute. Creating a new mechanism will take a lot of work, and could all be for naught should the U.S. alter its existing sanctions in response to any attempted elusion.
Donald Trump has routinely attacked the original deal, calling it the “worst I’ve ever seen,” both on the campaign trail and as he has served his first term in office. It is the president’s belief that the renewed sanctions will put pressure on Iran to negotiate a new deal. Trump’s belief may be reinforced by the falling value of the rial — Iran’s currency — which has gone down severely since the announcement of U.S. sanctions, according to Forbes.
With China and the EU on board — the two biggest trading partners for Iran in 2017 — this new agreement could bring much needed financial relief to Iran.