Dear Friends and Colleagues,
May 2018 brought a wave of new Iran sanctions dynamics following the US government’s announcement that it will withdraw from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Global companies, financial institutions, and sovereign governments reacted with a broad variety of measures, ranging from cancellation of planned investments to outright disregard of planned US sanctions. Elsewhere, we took note of US prosecutorial scrutiny of a Maltese private bank, updated client due diligence (CDD) rules released by the US Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), and a revised European anti-money laundering directive that may impact clients in the Netherlands, among other issues. Our research and analysis team continues to follow the key issues, assess their credibility and relevance, and implement our findings into our reports for clients.
The Sqope Team
ANALYSIS: INTERNATIONAL REACTIONS TO IRAN SANCTIONS
Renewed US sanctions on Iran have prompted widely different reactions from global corporations and sovereign governments: the Russian Federation’s second largest oil producer Lukoil announced it would not proceed with development projects in Iran due to the threat of US sanctions. Complications arose for small-sized German banks that pursued business with Iran following the 2016- implemented nuclear deal, despite reports that six small credit unions – known as Volksbanken – in southern Germany planned to continue processing payments to Iran and provide trade finance services until August. French oil multinational Total threatened to withdraw from a USD 2 billion natural gas drilling and construction project in Iran unless it received a sanctions waiver from US President Donald TRUMP and reportedly also sought French government support. Meanwhile, the Swiss Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP) announced on May 30 that it had suspended new transactions with Iran and is retreating from Iran-exposed activities.
In the US, aircraft manufacturer Boeing was the hardest hit with USD 20 billion in aircraft deals with Iran, for which it received export licenses from US regulators in 2016, reportedly in limbo. Senior advisor to French president Emmanuel MACRON characterized the threat of US sanctions on European companies trading with Iran and aluminum and steel export tariffs as a “test of European sovereignty.” The advisor predicted a firm response and denied any signs of division among European nations on the issue, while other reporting suggested pro-American EU states such as Lithuania, Poland, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, and Romania would adopt a more nuanced approach in light of strategic transatlantic diplomatic and government relations. India, an established purchaser of Iranian and Venezuelan oil, reportedly planned to wholly ignore US sanctions against Iran.
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