‘Unprecedented’ EU Sanctions on Iran a Farce

The European Union has agreed to an “unprecedented” set of sanctions against Iran, banning the importation of Iranian oil to its member states while also imposing currency and commodity sanctions on Iran’s central bank. But far from forcing Iran into a corner, the latest sanctions leave a backdoor open to the regime, affording it more time and cover to pursue its nuclear objectives.

Three of the weakest economies in Europe will be hit hard by the oil embargo. Italy, Greece, and Spain import 68% of EU oil from Iran. All three nations are in the midst of a sovereign debt crisis that won’t be improved by the scramble to replace the supply of oil from Tehran.

The EU also agreed to ban sales of petrochemical supplies to the Iranians as well as freezing the assets of Iran’s central bank. Gold, silver, and other commodity deals will also be banned.

But, as proof that these tough sounding sanctions will have the bite of a toothless lion, the ban is not scheduled to take effect for several months — July 1 — as EU nations need time to replace the oil imported from Iran with other sources of supply. This will give the Iranians plenty of time to find other buyers for their oil — if they don’t close the spigot to Europe immediately. The official Fars News Agency quoted one Iranian official suggesting that Tehran should halt sales to Europe now “so that the price of oil soars and the Europeans … have trouble.”...

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