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EghtesadOnline: Minister-President of Belgium’s Flanders Region Geert Bourgeois said the European Investment Bank will support investment in Iran, underlining Europe’s efforts to strengthen the so-called “blocking statute” to reduce US sanctions’ negative impacts on Iran.

Bourgeois made the remarks in a meeting with a high-ranking Iranian parliamentary delegation, headed by senior MP Kazem Jalali, in Belgium on Monday, Fars News Agency reported.

“The European companies have suffered from the US sanctions and punishments, and the US uses dollar as a weapon to punish countries,” he said.

Bourgeois expressed hope that cooperation with Iran would further expand in the fields of research and development, digital technology, oil and energy, Financial Tribune reported.

Jalali called for Europe’s practical measures to keep the nuclear deal alive, stressing that Europe should not suffice to merely pay lip service to support the Islamic Republic of Iran’s commitment to the deal.

Speaking to reporters in Tehran on Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qasemi warned the European states that they should provide the needed insurance soon to persuade the country remain in the 2015 nuclear deal, dismissing talks with the EU outside the internationally-endorsed agreement.

“We have exchanged views on the financial system and other fields related to economic issues and received some plans. If we think about the banking, monetary, industrial and technological mechanisms, this problem will be resolved,” he said.

Noting that Iran and Europe are now discussing the technical issues, he said, “We have given the necessary warnings to the Europeans and we will not wait much. Our talks with the Europeans have been merely within the framework of the nuclear deal and we have not had any other negotiations on any other issues with them.”

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington would no longer remain part of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and promised to reimpose the highest level of economic sanctions against Iran.

The sanctions reinstated on Iran on May 8 included the boycott of Iran’s crude supplies and bans on transfer of crude revenues. There is a 180-day interval before these sanctions come into effect. Other US secondary sanctions were reinstated last month.

After Trump’s declaration, the Iranian government issued a statement, calling the US withdrawal “unlawful”. The statement underlined Iran’s prerequisites for continuing the deal with the five world powers.

These conditions were reiterated later by Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, including Iran’s guaranteed crude sales and transfer of its revenues back home.

 Iranian Dissatisfaction

Two months on, the other five powers party to the nuclear deal have failed to satisfy Iran. President Rouhani voiced his disappointment over a recent package of incentives proposed by the EU countries to Tehran and said the Islamic Republic expected a much better, clearer and explicit stance by EU.

“Unfortunately, the EU’s package of proposals lacked an operational solution and a specific method for cooperation, and only contains a set of general commitments like the previous statements by the European Union,” President Rouhani said in a telephone conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on July 5.

“After the US withdrawal from JCPOA, Iran has been facing economic issues and problems in banking relations and oil, and foreign companies that have invested in Iran are skeptical about continuing their business.”

The Iranian president, however, said that the package proposed by the three European countries (the UK, Germany and France) on how they are going to live up to their commitments and cooperation under the JCPOA was “disappointing”.

Reiterating that JCPOA was a mutual commitment, President Rouhani said, “Iran had expected a clear plan from the three European countries after the two months’ time they have been given to come up with solid guarantees to ensure Iran’s economic interests would continue to be met despite US pullout and reinstatement of sanctions.”

The Iranian president also said Tehran would continue to cooperate with Europe, if the outcome of the July 6 Vienna talks would be promising.

“If the process of the European foreign ministers’ meeting in Vienna, which is aimed at encouraging Iran to cooperate, is promising, we will continue our cooperation with Europe,” he added.

But the Vienna talks of July 6 among foreign ministers from Iran and the five world powers (Russia, China, Germany, France and Britain) failed to satisfy Iran, with senior officials in Tehran complaining that the Europeans offered nothing new to ensure Iran’s continued merits under the deal.

 Think Tank’s Comprehensive Plan

On July 8, the Iranian Parliament’s research center revealed a comprehensive plan that includes a detailed list of policies and moves to fight off sanctions, as Washington sped up attempts to rally international support for intensifying pressures on Tehran.

The comprehensive “active anti-sanctions plan”, which has been compiled at the Majlis Research Center after long studies and consultations with experts from Iranian research and academic centers, traders and entrepreneurs, is now under study by senior judiciary, parliamentary and government officials for a final version.

The program, mainly aimed at making the country “unsanctionable”, has been developed to withstand the US sanctions program. It has reportedly been edited seven times so far.

The program also involves social and cultural measures to reinvigorate the country’s economy and infrastructure against the US sanctions that come into effect from 90 to 180 days after their reimposition and seek to wear off Iran’s economy step-by-step.

The plan also entails specific time-based nuclear, security and political leverages that would be enforced in reprisal for enemy threats, while it envisages transient waivers that could be extended, halted or annulled based on the decisions of authorities.

The plan to make Iran sanction-proof includes detailed measures in two 90-120 days and 180-210 days in the areas of monetary, banking and currency sectors, managing liquidity, deterring market disruption by middlemen, optimizing forex management, facilitating money transfer in the international market, stockpiling strategic commodities, monitoring budget resources and use, in addition to overseeing energy, trade, cultural, social, media and legal affairs.

Several other plans have also been proposed by university and research centers for improving the economy through reinvigoration of national potentials to make the country sanctions-proof.


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