Iranian people affected by sanctions- French MP

Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb.5

By Dalga Khatinoglu - Trend:

After the European Union and the United States imposed tight sanctions against Iran in mid-2012, Iran has been faced with a crippling situation.

As a result, the country's GDP contracted 6.6 percent in 2013, the national currency devaluated more than twofold, the inflation rate soared to above 36 percent, and about $100 billion of assets remain blocked abroad, among other things..

Some of the most biting sanctions were those imposed on Iran's banking system, especially the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) which is responsible for the transfer of exported oil revenues. Along with the obstacles in routing of financial transactions, Iran's oil export, which make up more than 80 percent of total exports, has halved.

After achieving an interim nuclear deal on November 24, 2013, some sanctions were eased, but not those related to the banking system or oil export.

Proactively Iran itself appealed against sanctions on the banking system to European and some of Iranian banks, like Mellat Bank and CBI, won.

However, Iranian banks haven't been eliminated from the EU's blacklist yet, even though EU courts struck down European sanctions over the last two years.

Other concerns rose, as sanctions affects the importation of humanitarian goods ; medical, and pharmaceutical goods were also choked off due to financial restrictions.

The West says that there are no obstacles in the way of exporting humanitarian goods to Iran, yet European banks extreme caution over Iran-related money transactions has hindered the flow.

A member of the French Senate Commission for International Affairs, Nathalie Goulet told Trend Feb.5, "the biggest mistake of European banking community was to stand against the people of Iran. The broad banking and financial sanction imposed on Iran did not stop them from what Europe was aiming for. Instead thousand of sick people in hospitals, local industries to cater for day to day need of ordinary people and young needy students abroad suffered from such sanction."

When EU and the U.S. were preparing so-called "smart sanctions" against Iran to persuade it to curb its nuclear in late 2011, they announced that the Iranian people were not the target.

The Vice-Chairman of Parliamentary Group of France and the Gulf Countries, Goulet said, "we in Europe have horrible experiences in condemning a certain race or group of people and found it in violation of basic human rights, yet we were driven into it".

She added that Europe has lost lot of business opportunity with Iran and will continue to do so if it follows the same flawed procedures of the past.

When ex-president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came on power in 2015, Europe shared 50 percent in Iran's total imports, but currently this figure plunged to 20.79 percent.

Europe was the target of 18 percent of Iran's total oil exports in 2011, amounting to 480,000 barrels per day, but the EU stopped Iranian oil imports in mid-2012.

Year

Iran's exports to EU
- Billion dollar

Share of total

Iran's total exports-
Billion dollar

Iran's imports from EU-
Billion dollar

Share of total

Iran's total imports-
Billion dollar

2005

1.4

15%

9.35

18

49%

38.9

2007*

1.65

10%

15.29

17.27

35%

48.38

2013*

1.723

5.3%

41.448

15.3

28.6%

53.451

2014*

1.44

4.61%

41.628

10.98

21.6%

50.818

* Iran's fiscal year starts on March 21, the table covers March 20, 2005 to the March 20, 2014.

However, the latest statistics released by Iran Custom Administration indicates that Iran's imports from EU increased during last ten months 22.43 percent, while its export to EU increased 27 percent year-to-year.

EU shares 4.95 percent in Iran's total non-oil export.

Edited by CN

Dalga Khatinoglu is an expert on Iran's energy sector, head of Trend Agency's Iran news service.

Follow him on @dalgakhatinoglu

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