European companies will struggle to defy America on Iran

WHATEVER YOU do if you are a European company pulling out of Iran, do not mention the sanctions. On November 5th America re-imposed an embargo on Iran, aimed at blocking its supposed nuclear ambitions. Its restrictions to trade do not apply directly to European companies but bosses fear being banned from the American market if they keep doing business in Iran. Yet obeying America’s sanctions is itself illegal under rules devised by Europe, whose leaders want to keep Iran in the global trade fold.

Firms opting to bow to America have thus devised a ruse: blame unspecified issues of “commercial viability” for their decision to leave Iran. This is what British Airways and Air France both did when they recently stopped flying to Tehran. Most big firms have announced that they are leaving, including Total, a French energy group, and Siemens, a German engineering giant. (American firms were banned even before, though with occasional...

via Business Feeds

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