BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European banks and firms who engage in a special European Union initiative to protect trade with Iran will be at risk from newly reimposed U.S. sanctions, the U.S. special envoy for Iran warned on Thursday.
It is “no surprise” that EU efforts to establish a so-called Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) were floundering over fear in EU capitals that hosting it would incur U.S. punishment, Special Representative Brian Hook said.
“European banks and European companies know that we will vigorously enforce sanctions against this brutal and violent regime,” he said in a telephone briefing with reporters.
“Any major European company will always choose the American market over the Iranian market.”
The SPV has been conceived as a clearing house that could be used to help match Iranian oil and gas exports against purchases of EU goods in an effective barter arrangement circumventing U.S. sanctions, based on global use of the dollar for oil sales.
Brussels had wanted to have the SPV legally in place by this month though not operational until next year, but no country has offered to host it, six diplomats told Reuters earlier this week.
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