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Swiss sanctions lifted 2nd time!

Switzerland announced last week it was lifting its sanctions on Iran, effective immediately, prompting a flurry of speculative stories about a surge in Iran-Swiss trade.

Actually, the announcement doesn't amount to anything.

First of all, back in January 2014, when Iran and the Big Six put the interim nuclear agreement into effect, the Swiss government announced it was suspending its sanctions on Iran. All it did last week was remove the texts of its suspended sanctions from its rulebooks. But nothing changed as a practical matter.

Second, trade didn't surge when the sanctions were suspended a year-and-a-half ago. And it won't surge now. That's because the big international oil trading firms that are based in Switzerland--Vitol Group, Glencore and Trafigura--all do business with the United States and haven't wanted to endanger their dealings there by transacting business with Iran.

The Swiss announcement also added that should Iran fail to come into compliance with the new nuclear agreement by such measures as ridding itself of enriched uranium stockpiles and dismantling two-thirds of its centrifuges, then the Swiss sanctions can be swiftly snapped back into place.

The sanctions that haven't been in place since January 2014 banned trade in precious metals with Iranian state bodies and laid down requirements for reporting trade in Iranian petrochemical products and transporting of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products.

Matthew Paris, managing director of Gentium Law in Geneva, said as long as American and EU sanctions remain in force, "the practical consequences for the trading houses operating in Switzerland is precisely zero."

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Title Annotation:All the nukes fit to print
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Aug 21, 2015
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