EghtesadOnline: New Zealand businesses would suffer if its government gave in to threats from the United States over sanctions on dealings with Iran, Iran’s ambassador to New Zealand said.
The United States has threatened to impose sanctions on European companies that do business with Iran, as the remaining participants in the Iran nuclear accord stiffened their resolve to keep that agreement operational.
Iran’s Ambassador to New Zealand Jalaleddin Namini Mianji told Morning Report that New Zealand companies would risk losing trade deals if the country adhered to US President Donald Trump’s threat of imposing sanctions.
“If the government of New Zealand obeys any sanction against Iran, it is not sanction against Iran it is a sanction against the New Zealand companies,” Financial Tribune quoted Mianji as saying.
“Our trade with New Zealand is the importing of dairy products from NZ. If they want to impose sanctions, then they must ban the companies from exporting the commodities to Iran.
“[New Zealand companies] will lose in this sanction, we can buy, for example butter, from many other countries, that is why it is not in favor of New Zealand; it will not serve the New Zealand companies’ interests.”
New Zealand exported $120 million worth of goods to Iran last year, with dairy products making up three-quarters of that. Imports totaled $6.8 million, with dates contributing over half.
Mianji said he viewed the solidarity of EU countries as a promising sign of the union’s loyalty to the nuclear agreement and opposition of Trump’s sanctions.
“It is not the matter of Iran’s nuclear deal; it is the matter of dignity of Europe because President Trump believes in unilateralism; he thinks he’s master of the world, he’s a business police of the world and he will make a decision and the other countries must obey him,” Mianji said.
“Principally, New Zealand must reject [the sanctions] but they declare they’re going to obey EU countries, I think they will have the same policy that EU will have in the coming weeks.”
After Trump announced his withdrawal from the Iran deal, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said his decision was “disappointing”.
New Zealand’s Minister for Trade and Export David Parker last week said it was still unclear to the nations who remained in the nuclear agreement and what exports or trade were at risk when associating with Iran.
“It’s not yet clear to us or to Europe what that means in respect of existing export levels in the eyes of the United States,” Parker said.
The trade minister added that representatives in the industry had already expressed their concern about difficulties exporting to Iran.
“I heard one of the primary industry representatives postulating that it might mean, if nothing else, that it’s more difficult to increase exports to Iran who, of course, used to be a much larger trading partner of New Zealand than they are even now,” Parker said.