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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

  • 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.

EU lobbies Hungary to break oil sanctions deadlock

After the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen's Budapest trip, Hungary suggested it wants EU funds to offset the extra costs from receiving different oil sources, and the increased energy prices the planned Russian oil embargo entails.


Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine - the case for granting EU candidacy

Granting EU candidacy status to Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine will firmly anchor their ties with Brussels — and enable the EU to secure its place in the Black Sea region, connecting Europe to China and energy-rich Central Asia, bypassing Russia.


The EU Parliament Covid inquiry: the questions MEPs must ask

A basic lack of transparency around the EU's vaccines procurement negotiations has prevented effective public and parliamentary scrutiny. It has also made it impossible to answer some of the key questions we put forward here.

News in Brief

  1. Dutch journalists sue EU over banned Russia TV channels
  2. EU holding €23bn of Russian bank reserves
  3. Russia speeds up passport process in occupied Ukraine
  4. Palestinian civil society denounce Metsola's Israel visit
  5. Johnson refuses to resign after Downing Street parties report
  6. EU border police has over 2,000 agents deployed
  7. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  8. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU summit will be 'unwavering' on arms for Ukraine
  2. Orbán's new state of emergency under fire
  3. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  4. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  5. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  6. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  7. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  8. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us