By Javad Heirannia

EU cannot force European companies to do business with Iran: ex-White House official

August 17, 2018

TEHRAN – Professor Frank N. von Hippel, former assistant director for national security in the White House Office of Science and Technology says that “European companies would be protected with regard to their specific agreements with Iran but the EU cannot protect them from being excluded from the U.S. market if they trade with Iran.”

 “The EU cannot force European companies to do business with Iran.  It can give them protection against U.S. legal action if they do so,” Frank N. von Hippel tells the Tehran Times in an exclusive interview.

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Some argue that the European Union laws does not have an effect to protect Iran against the impact of U.S. sanctions. In other words, the law is a new version of the "Blocking Statute" that the European Union approved in 1996 to protect Cuba against U.S. sanctions. In your opinion, how much this law is effectiveness to protect Iran against U.S. sanctions?

A: The EU is doing its best but I fear that the “Blocking Statute” will not help that much.  European companies would be protected with regard to their specific agreements with Iran but the EU cannot protect them from being excluded from the U.S. market if they trade with Iran.  The same situation may apply to China.  China can buy Iranian oil but, again, the big Chinese companies may be intimidated by the Trump Administration’s threats to block them from the U.S. market if they trade with Iran.

Q: Previously, in 1996, without the Europe support, America put sanction on Cuba, and Europe did not accept these sanctions. Nowadays Is Europe still able to resist U.S. sanctions against Iran?

A: They are able to resist but I question whether their resistance will be effective in this case.  In the case of the Cuba sanctions, I don’t believe that the U.S. tried to block EU companies that traded with Cuba from the U.S. market.

Q: In Europe, economic companies have the right to choose and freedom, and the EU also does not want to restrict this freedom. Does the EU can push the companies to work with Iran? How the EU can force the companies to cooperate with Iran?

The EU cannot force European companies to do business with Iran.  It can give them protection against U.S. legal action if they do so.  But it cannot get them access to the U.S. market if the U.S. Government decides to exclude them from it.

Once again, I think that the Trump Administration’s decision to try to destroy the JCPOA is totally irresponsible and creates the possibility of another unnecessary and destructive war.  I hope that Iran will not let itself be sucked into this trap.  As you probably are aware, because of the many destructive things that the Trump Administration has been doing, a broad political opposition has formed.  We will see the first results in the November Congressional elections.  Even if the opposition wins in November, however, it will not be able to reverse the Trump Administration’s policy on the JCPOA. That would require the election of a new President, which cannot happen until 2020.
 

Leave a Comment

2 + 14 =