Here Comes The Cash-Switzerland and India Rush To Start Lifting Iran Sanctions

While the U.N. Security Council has approved Obama’s dangerous P5+1 deal with Iran, the sanctions have not been officially been lifted as of yet. But that hasn’t stopped some countries from lifting them on their own.  Switzerland wins the award for being first to lift sanctions, India is close behind and there is a long line of businesses at the starting line licking their chops in anticipation of making money off the terrorist-supporting regime. Or as one senior French official said, “Everyone is looking at Iran with greed.”

On Wednesday Switzerland announced they will be lifting sanctions on Iran:

The decision removes a ban on precious metals transactions with Iranian state bodies and the requirement to report trade in Iranian petrochemical products, according to a government statement on Wednesday. It also eliminates an obligation to report the transport of Iranian crude oil and petroleum products and rules on insurance and reinsurance policies linked to such transactions. The measures already had been suspended since January 2014.

In Washington, State Department spokesman Mark Toner said U.S. sanctions remain in place and penalties would still apply to any country or company that violates them. He told reporters that the U.S. wasn’t informed in advance of the Swiss move to drops its sanctions before Iran has taken the promised steps to curb its nuclear program and before the U.S., European Union and United Nations have removed their penalties.

Switzerland, home of some of the world’s largest oil traders including Vitol Group, Glencore Plc and Trafigura Beheer BV, has handled diplomatic and consular affairs for the U.S. in Iran since its revolution.

On Thursday, Reuters reported that Indian oil refiners are about to pay Iran $1.4 billion dollars for oil purchased prior to the sanctions:

Indian Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi asked refiners this month to prepare to pay Tehran two installment of $700 million, part of the money owed for oil imports, said the sources, who declined to be identified due to the sensitivity of the issue.

(…) Mehrishi last month led a delegation of officials from the Reserve Bank of India and state-run UCO Bank to Tehran to discuss oil payments.

The exact timing of the payments is unclear since the finance ministry is seeking clearance from the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the U.S. Department of treasury to go ahead, one of the sources said.

As with the Swiss deal, the U.S. is warning the Indians to slow down:

The U.S. Treasury said it did not comment specifically on countries or institutions involved in payments.

But in a statement said “the U.S. government has committed to render non-sanctionable the release in installments of certain Iranian restricted funds held overseas in an amount consistent with installments provided under previous JPOA relief periods.”

That is “diplo-speak” for “hey cool your buns!”

But it doesn’t look that anyone is looking to cool off, the Gatestone Institute reports that European media outlets are referring to Iran as the “new El Dorado,” the chance of a century,” and the “last untapped market.

Although the United States Congress will not vote on the accord until September, Europeans appear to be operating on the premise that Iran is now open for business.

Within days of the agreement’s signing, the European Union approved the deal, and senior officials from Germany, France, Italy and the European Union rushed to Tehran to pursue business deals; leaders from Austria, Spain and Sweden are planning to lead trade missions to Iran in September and October.

Even without a congressional vote it seems as if the sanctions regime is beginning to crack, and when they collapse Iran is free and clear even if they violate the terms of the agreement.  Per Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran analyst with the Washington-based Foundation for the Defense of Democracies:

“President Obama’s promise about the snapback sanction has no truth in it. When international companies go to Iran and commit themselves and their shareholders to long-term multi-billion dollar investments, there will be no snapback sanction mechanism.

“It took the U.S. almost a decade to convince Europeans to leave Iran’s market, as the European companies were deeply invested in the country. Those who promise an immediate return of sanctions in future are either naïve or they are not telling the truth.”

The New York Times interviewed, Philip Gordon, the Obama Administration’s former coordinator for the Middle East who is now with the Council on Foreign Relations. Gordon admitted that American negotiators had deliberately the procedures for sanctions snap-back very vague, which means that if Iran fails to comply with the agreement, not all sanctions will necessarily be reapplied.

 “The accord stipulates, for instance, that renewed sanctions ‘would not apply with retroactive effect’ to contracts signed before a potential violation is flagged. European companies and governments could argue that contracts signed now would be excluded from any future sanctions.”

In other words once companies and governments sink their economies into Iran they are grand fathered in, even if Iran builds a bomb and decides to test it out on New York or Tel Aviv.

This is the real reason Europe loves the P5+1 agreement. It doesn’t matter to them that conducting business with Iranian regime means financing their nuclear program, and perhaps the annihilation of Israel, or the export of Islamist terror against the West or moderate Gulf States.  They just see dollar signs and nothing else matters.