Baku, Azerbaijan, May 17
By Umid Niayesh - Trend:
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi has recently said that Israel and Saudi Arabia are trying to stop the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, aka nuclear deal), signed by Iran and the world powers, from bearing fruits, and accused them of using Iranophobia as an instrument to sabotage the deal's implementation.
In an interview with Trend regarding the issue, Mehrdad Emadi, a consultant at the UK-based Betamatrix International Consultancy, said the observations made by Araqchi highlight an important issue affecting the pace of return of Iran into the world trade and financial systems as an important economy freed from a multi-layered net of restrictions and exclusions.
Evidence suggest that since November 2015 there has been a visible rise in the efforts of both the Saudi leadership and the government of Israel to prevent a comprehensive return of Iran to the top table of the world's important economies, according to Emadi.
He said Saudi Arabia reportedly has utilized various instruments to create as many obstacles on the path of Iran as politically attainable.
Explaining the steps taken, Emadi said numerous contacts have been made by the Saudi officials in the EU, most notably in France, Italy, the UK, Austria, and additionally in Canada and the US, with the leading banks and oil companies warning them off that resumption of business links with Iran will be considered most unfavorably by the Kingdom since Riyadh believes that any enhancement in Iran's ability to access world's banking system and its sales of crude will only increase the ability of Iran to destabilize the Persian Gulf and the Middle East.
He said the Saudi officials in these contacts stated that they saw this as a direct threat to the security of the Kingdom.
"Furthermore, both Saudis and the government of Israel have repeatedly claimed that access to free banking will enable Iran to use the banking services to engage in new money laundering efforts to finance the military activities of its regional allies," added Emadi.
"Thence, the Saudi leadership has made it clear that it will reconsider the position of the Kingdom in continuing with the existing business deals, as well as with any future contracts with those banks and oil companies that ignore its warnings concerning Iran," he noted.
Parallel to these direct contacts, in the United States, Riyadh has been using its network of business contacts, members of the House of Representative and the Senate, senior Pentagon officials to magnify what the Kingdom's leadership labels as the "Iranian expansionist threat", according to Emadi.
In this context, according to Emadi, the Saudi-friendly media in the United States and Canada have embarked on a campaign of Iranophobic stories using the fictitious claims fabricated by some of the opposition groups to the Islamic Republic's leadership pertaining to a resumption of clandestine nuclear activities of Tehran toward the militarization of Iran's nuclear research and technology capabilities.
He said this facet of Saudi efforts in the United States and Canada has been implicitly coordinated with the efforts of the pro-Tel Avis lobby, who have increased their efforts to enflame the Iranophobia media cover as a means to nullify the recent US agreement with Iran through their efforts in the US Congress.
The expert also said the Saudi leadership with help and advice of some of the Israeli government allies in Washington and in some key US states, most notably New York, Texas, Nebraska, New Jersey and Florida, have been focusing on how doing business with Iran will result in them losing business ties with Saudi Arabia and Israel, and how this will affect certain states in terms of employment and revenues.
Emadi said the Saudis also warned those US states that Riyadh may not offer the same level of global and regional cooperation with the US government and businesses in important energy and arms agreements if the involved American businesses do not lend their support and use their political clout to prevent Iran from using international banking system and dollar-based transactions.
"It is claimed that Saudis have even mentioned the possibility of selling off some of their dollar-denominated assets and bonds should Washington continue its partial rapprochement with Iran," added Emadi.
"Interestingly all the three facets of the Saudi efforts and instruments used to achieve the intended outcome have rightly put the emphasis on using the influence of Saudis in the US to apply the added pressure on the leading EU banks, as well as some of the global institutions," he said.
Emadi further said that so far the tangible result of this multi-faceted campaign has been to increase the trepidation and fear of reprisals by the oil-rich Arab countries amongst the EU banks.
"However, in recent weeks the Iranophobia campaign of the Riyadh-Tel Aviv alliance has been losing some of its traction in the EU mainly due to a constructive and proactive approach of Iran's Foreign Ministry that has been emphasizing on the improvement on the level of financial transparency of Iranian banking system and the welcoming changes in the regulations concerning European partnerships in the economy," he noted.
Notably, the governor of Iran's Central Bank Valiollah Seif has been made aware about the significance of such measures to allay the fears of banks in Europe, as well as about the effectiveness of enhanced financial transparency as a means to undermine the Iranophobia efforts of Riyadh and Tel Aviv, said Emadi.
Follow the author on Twitter: @UmidNiayesh