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WASHINGTON – The Swiss Foreign Ministry has dismissed the U.S.-led oil and financial industry embargoes against Iran and will allow the Iranian Central Bank to conduct business activities there despite Western concern over Iran’s nuclear development program, according to a report in Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin.
It also will continue the import of Iranian oil, according to Rudolf Christen of the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
“The Swiss decision now to allow transactions by the Iranian Central Bank undermines the U.S.-driven financial sanctions,” according to Hague-based Heinrich Matthee. “Swiss-based actors will benefit from the decision.”
Switzerland’s decision puts it at odds with other European countries. Members of the European Union are slated to boycott Iranian oil beginning July 1 as a further tightening of sanctions due to Iran’s nuclear program, which Iran insists is for peaceful purposes.
Switzerland is bound as a member of the United Nations to honor sanctions it has imposed. However, the U.N. never called for a boycott of either Iran’s oil or its central banking system. Those sanctions were imposed by the U.S. and the E.U.
While Switzerland isn’t a member of the E.U., it has in recent years gone along with E.U. sanctions in an effort to harmonize laws with its main trading partners.
Meantime, the United States along with China, France, Germany, Russia and Great Britain recently met in Istanbul, Turkey, with Iranian officials in what was described as a positive exchange, with an agreement to continue discussions on May 23 in Baghdad, Iraq.
The Iranians have dusted off an older proposal for countries such as Turkey and Brazil to provide enriched uranium for its medical work and to fuel its reactors, as a compromise to deal with the standoff over Iran’s enrichment of uranium, which Tehran insists as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty it has a right to do.
If such an agreement, or something similar to it, can be reached, Tehran wants all sanctions lifted.
Meantime, Iran has issued another warning that it will cut off oil exports to Europe if the E.U. doesn’t show what Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi calls flexibility ahead of the second round of nuclear talks in May. The Islamic republic already has cut some oil sales to Britain and France.
At the same time, Iran is imposing a divide and conquer routine by pressuring such countries as Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal and the Netherlands, which are very dependent on Iran’s oil, to protest the E.U.’s unilateral sanctions.
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