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Having spent weeks hyping up the idea of a threat posed by Iran against the world, US special envoy Brian Hook is now shifting his talking points to threatening those nations directly.
Hook warned the European Union in particular against its attempt to establish a clearing house to allow trade with Iran, saying that the entire continent of Europe has to make a choice: do business with the United States, or do business with Iran.
This is a problem for the P5+1 members in the European Union, as the nuclear deal with Iran obliges them to offer sanctions relief. Since the US reneged on the deal, they’ve not only refused to trade with Iran, but are trying to prevent the rest of the world from doing so as well.
That’s why the EU had to create the clearing house: because US threats have scared off all the banks in Europe. The program will allow companies to trade with Iran without money crossing borders, and thus eliminating the need for banks.
Hook, however, insists that no country has any waivers from America allowing them to buy Iranian oil, or carry out other business with them. Even though in practice it is none of America’s business, Hook said the US intends to sanction any country caught buying oil from Iran in any way.
The US threats are largely empty. China has continued to buy oil from Iran despite US warnings, and the US clearly can’t do anything about it. The EU has a similarly large economy and should be able to also call the administration’s bluff, but so far, banks haven’t shown any faith in the EU backing up their promises to protect their companies.