January 31, 2019


Europe Protects Itself From Trump's Caprice: The 'special purpose vehicle' for Iran is a strike for greater economic sovereignty. (Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, January 31, 2019, Bloomberg)

It's been a surprisingly short time in coming. It was only last September that Federica Mogherini, the European Union's high representative for foreign affairs, announced that the European parties to the Iranian nuclear deal--formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action--would establish an a special purpose vehicle to "assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran," giving them a route around secondary sanctions imposed by the Trump administration.

Just four months later, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom are ready to launch the much-anticipated SPV, a first-of-its-kind state-owned trade intermediary. It will initially facilitate what French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has described as trade in "essential goods"--mostly European exports of food and medicine to Iran. These, although not technically sanctioned by the U.S., have been restricted by the reluctance of European banks to facilitate payments for fear of American retribution. [...]

The surprising speed with which the SPV was established reflects a sense of urgency in Europe for an assertion of greater economic independence from the U.S. The French treasury played a leading role in devising the SPV, working closely with the French, German, and British foreign ministries and in consultation with the European Commission. Shortly after Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear deal last May, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire spoke of a "realization among all European states that we cannot keep going in the direction we are headed today whereby we submit to American decisions."

The Shi'a are democratic allies; Donald is not.

Posted by at January 31, 2019 3:58 AM