A diplomatic correspondence showed that Germany, France, and Britain urged the administration of US President Donald Trump in late October to reconsider imposing new broad sanctions on Iranian banks, saying that this step would impede legitimate trade in humanitarian materials and harm the common interests of allies.
Data from the German Federal Bank and interviews with Western bankers, diplomats, and politicians indicated that the bank did not suspend deposit facilities of several billion euros to Iranian banks, including two banks on which Washington imposed new sanctions, which gave Tehran a much-needed banking lifeline after it was cut off to Quite a way to connect to the global financial system.
There has been no previous news of behind-the-scenes resistance to Washington’s efforts against Tehran and the extent of Germany’s support for Iranian trade in the face of US sanctions, and the matter highlights the contrast in the ways Trump and the US allies deal with Iran.
The news came in a joint letter by the three European countries after the United States imposed sanctions on October 8th on 18 Iranian banks as part of the “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran.
The sanctions prevented Americans from doing business with Iranian banks and expanded the scope of secondary sanctions on foreign companies that do business with these banks. The penalty for violating foreign banks may reach preventing them from dealing with the American market and may lead to heavy fines even though the US sanctions do not apply in Europe and elsewhere by the rule of law.
In the joint letter dated October 26, diplomats from Germany, France, and Britain told Washington that the sanctions could make food commodities and medicines “too expensive” for the average Iranian citizen in light of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The United States has always said that its goal is to target the ruling elite, not the Iranians,” said the letter, a copy of which was retrieved by Reuters. “We believe it is important to implement this commitment in practice”.
The US State Department said in a letter to Reuters that Washington wants to ensure that sanctions do not impede the provision of humanitarian aid in the face of the pandemic.
A British Foreign Office spokesman said Britain “does not approve of these sanctions which affect several banks that help the Iranian people to obtain vital humanitarian supplies.”.
The French Foreign Ministry declined to comment. A French diplomatic source said that the speech was part of the continuous efforts made by the three countries to make it clear to the American administration that it will not disavow the nuclear agreement with Iran.
A German government official said that humanitarian channels are needed to continue and the German government calls for this.
A spokesman for the Federal Bank of Germany confirmed that Iranian banks have accounts in it intending to transfer payments, but he declined to comment on each case separately. “The Federal Bank of Germany is bound by national and European law, as well as, of course, concerning financial penalties,” he said”.