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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Europe does its homework on Iran

Even if the Obama administration isn't fed up with Iran yet, Europe apparently is. Europe has prepared another round of sanctions for itself that goes far beyond the UN, and according to some reports is far more likely to have a serious impact on Iran than anything the United States could do.
The 27-nation European Council issued a declaration on Iran following a meeting in Brussels Thursday calling on its foreign affairs council to adopt at its next session measures going beyond those outlined in a UN Security Council resolution on Iran last week.

New measures "should focus on the areas of trade, especially dual use goods and further restrictions on trade insurance; the financial sector, including freeze of additional Iranian banks and restrictions on banking and insurance; the Iranian transport sector, in particular the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) and its subsidiaries and air cargo; key sectors of the gas and oil industry with prohibition of new investment, technical assistance and transfers of technologies, equipment and services related to these areas, in particular related to refining, liquefaction and LNG technology; and new visa bans and asset freezes especially on the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)," the declaration continues.

The Europeans “did their homework this time,” the Foundation for Defense of Democracy’s Emanuele Ottolenghi told POLITICO Thursday.

“Basically what happened is they did not wait for the UN Security Council to produce the Iran resolution," he continued. Since December, "they had a parallel process to the Security Council’s where they worked to produce a list that everyone agreed on on principle, that whatever the UN would produce, the EU would go above and beyond.”

"The EU is a traditionally slow body, that easily squabbles internally, and often has to water down statements to reach a common position. Not so this time," agreed former State Department official Laurie Dundon.

The declaration showed that Europe is "fed up with Tehran's continued non-cooperation on the nuclear file and severe human rights abuses at home," Dundon continued. "This is big. The EU as a bloc is still Tehran's largest trading partner, and Euro-currency transactions matter in the global marketplace. If the EU can deliver on the real consequences they pledged... it will have far more practical effect on Iran than any new US sanctions would."
It sounds like the Europeans have realized that they are a target too.


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