Fear of US punishment over Iran business real

Business Materials 21 May 2016 15:49 (UTC +04:00)

Tehran, Iran, May 21

By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:

The fear felt by world companies that they will meet punishment by the US if they carry out business transactions with Iran is quite real despite statements that indicate otherwise, Nabiollah Ahmadlu, a senior Iranian lawyer believes.

Several European and Asian companies have paid heavily for relations with Iran and the fact that the US holds powerful sway overseas exists, he told Trend May 21.

The US, along with the UK, France, and Germany in an announcement on May 20 gave assurances that world companies will be safe in doing business with Iran. In a joint announcement read during the Relinking Iran to the International Financial Society in London, the four countries emphasized the legality of business relations with Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Acion.

Ahmadlu pointed to the ultra-governmental US influence over the issue and said the recent confiscation of Iranian assets in the US by a court in that country outlines a grim view of what could be expected.

A US court recently ruled that $1.8 billion Iranian assets that had been frozen in the States should go to the families of the victims of a series of terrorist acts, having already accused Iran of playing a role in the events.

Regarding the previous day's quadrilateral statement, the lawyer said since legal grounds to allow Iran into international business are already laid by the JCPOA, the statement serves rather to ease the psychological vibe that prevails the world regarding the dangers of business ties with Iran.

He said making the announcement was the right thing to do and will benefit American and European companies as much as their Iranian counterparts.

Regarding the joint announcement, Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, however, said earlier the day that such declarations are not enough by themselves, stressing, "We need practical measures as well."

Iran has kept complaining that although Western sides to the JCPOA have nominally lifted the sanctions, they have failed to uphold the spirit of the deal by not making their best efforts to encourage banks and business owners to relink to Iran.

The JCPOA has lifted the nuclear-related sanctions, but a set of primary US sanctions are still in place, disallowing the use of the dollar in Iran-related business. That has caused much dismay with Iranian business owners and their foreign counterparts.

Restricted by the same set of sanctions, many foreign companies have failed to repay their debts to Iran that remain from the past, although four months have passed since the sanctions were lifted.