Sunday

29th May 2022

European banks bow under US pressure to cut Iran ties

Four of Europe's biggest banks have been strong-armed by the US into cutting ties with Iran in what some western media are calling anti-nuclear sanctions through the "back door."

Pressured by threats of fines and loss of business, UBS and Credit Suisse of Switzerland, ABN Amro of the Netherlands and HSBC of the UK have all started to reduce their links with Iran, the New York Times reports.

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  • Major European banks HSBC, UBS, Credit Suisse and ABN Amro have started to cut links with Iran (Photo: Wikipedia)

Citing terrorist laws, top US officials have stepped up their efforts for banks in the Middle East, Europe and in North America to limit their activities in Iran, stressing the risky nature of dealing with a country that has repeatedly rebuffed EU and US demands to halt uranium enrichment activities.

Banks with branches or headquarters in the US have in the past faced fines for dealing with countries that Washington has sought to isolate and nearly all European banks have an office on US soil which is subject to US law.

Both Brussels and Washington had hoped that the UN security council would impose sanctions on Iran for its failure to comply with demands to stop its nuclear enrichment programme.

But Russia and China are reluctant to endorse sanctions, while enjoying trade partnerships with Iran. Attempts to end the gridlock and reach agreement on a UN resolution ended in failure two weeks ago.

Last week, EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said the EU could help Tehran with "the best and most sophisticated technology" for civilian nuclear use, if it really was the case that Iran's aim was to produce energy for peaceful purposes only.

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