December 2 According to a diplomatic letter on the 1st, Germany, France and Britain urged the U.S. government to reconsider the sanctions imposed on Iran’s financial sector in late October 2020, saying that it would hinder legitimate humanitarian trade and harm the common interests of allies. The report said that this shows the differences between the United States and its European allies over Iran.
According to previous reports, the U.S. Treasury Department announced on October 8 that it would impose sanctions on 18 major banks in Iran. According to the regulations of the United States, the assets of the subject to sanctions in the United States will be frozen, and U.S. citizens shall not be allowed to conduct transactions with them.
The United States also said that it would give foreign companies with business dealings with the 18 banks 45 days to end their cooperation, otherwise they would face “secondary sanctions”. For foreign banks, violating U.S. regulations may mean that they will lose access to the U.S. market and may incur severe penalties.
This move was opposed by many European countries. In a joint letter dated 26 October, diplomats from Britain, France and Germany told Washington that such sanctions may make food and medicine “unaffordable” for ordinary Iranians during the coronavirus pandemic.
The letter also pointed out that sanctions would make it more difficult for diplomatic missions, international organizations and non-profit organizations to maintain a presence in Iran.” The humanitarian needs of the Iranian people are very urgent and require an effective response. Actively blocking such a response would harm our common interests,” the letter read.
A spokesman for the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office said the UK “disagrees with these sanctions because they affect some banks that help the Iranian people obtain vital humanitarian supplies.”
A German government official said that humanitarian channels need to remain open, and Germany has been advocating for this.
The French Ministry of Foreign Affairs declined to comment. A French diplomatic source said that the letter indicated to the United States that the three countries would not abandon the Iran nuclear agreement.
According to the report, since the United States announced its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018, the Trump administration has taken several rounds of economic sanctions against Iran, which has hit Iran’s economy.
Britain, France and Germany are also signatories to the Iran nuclear agreement. They hope that President-elect Joe Biden of the United States can change the route. Biden has said he will rejoin the nuclear agreement if it resumes compliance with it.