On Thursday, Reuters reported the European Union extended sanctions for one year on Iran over human rights violations, after debating whether to impose a new set of penalties in an attempt to preserve the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreement signed between the P5+1 countries (China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States) and Iran in October 2015. United States President Donald Trump, an opponent of the deal, has given a May 12th deadline to renegotiate the arrangement, or else the United States will not extend sanctions relief.

Divided Camps

Europe is reportedly divided on how to best safeguard the deal. France, on the one hand, has pushed for new sanctions over Iran’s ballistic missile program, and Iran’s greater involvement in the Middle East. This includes in Syria, where Iran supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Hezbollah in Lebanon, and a Houthi insurgency against the Yemeni military. Italy, on the other hand, fears any renegotiation would upset Tehran, and endanger European investments in the country after decades of international isolation. According to Rome, any new punitive measures would not necessarily prevent President Trump from leaving the agreement.

Next Steps

The European Union member state’s foreign affairs ministers must reach a unanimous agreement over a newer set of penalties. Germany and the United Kingdom reportedly support France, whereas Austria and Spain back Italy. Last month, London, Rome and Paris proposed targeting Iranian militias and commanders in building on the Union’s existing sanctions related to Syria, which includes travel bans and asset freezes on people, and a ban on doing business there. The current human rights sanctions, set to expire in April 2019, include asset freezes and travel bans against 82 people and one entity, as well as a prohibition of exports of equipment that could be used for internal repression and monitoring telecommunications. In March, Iran arrested activists and political opponents, as well as allegedly used torture to coerce confessions.

Compliance with Sanctions

Complying with United States Office of Foreign Asset Control and European Union Sanctions are critical for entities and institutions seeking to avoid liability. Any institution engaging in international business in large volumes, or conducting business with moderate to high risk individuals should consider partnering with Vcheck Global to ensure your business is fully compliant and has done its appropriate due diligence on its customers and partners. Also included on the Sanctions list are:

The Balkans
Belarus
Burundi
Central African Republic
Cuba
Democratic Republic of the Congo
Iraq
Lebanon
Libya
North Korea
Russia
Somalia
Sudan
Syria
Venezuela
Yemen
Zimbabwe

 

 

-Brock Treworgy

 

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