March 20, 2019

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US sanctions on Iran already starting to bite – without the EU

The Trump sanctions on Iran might end up being far better than anyone expected.

Iran does not want Europe to join the sanctions regime, so the parts of JCPOA that were helpful – as flawed as the JCPOA was – must stay in place.

And the US sanctions are already starting to hurt the Iranian economy in some specific areas.

The WSJ reports:

It will be months before new U.S. sanctions against Iran take hold, but global shipping operators are already pulling back from the big oil-exporting nation.

The world’s two biggest shipping lines, Denmark’s Maersk Line and Swiss-based Mediterranean Shipping Co., said they were winding down general cargo shipments, while tanker owners said they plan to move their vessels to other oil-producing countries in the Middle East or West Africa.

Even though the U.S. is alone in imposing the new sanctions, “I don’t think any shipping line that operates globally will be able to do business in Iran if the sanctions arrive in full force, the way they are intended,” said Soren Skou, chief executive of Maersk Line and parent company A.P. Moller-Maersk A/S.

Maersk and privately held MSC have been moving everything from electronics and household goods to food and heavy machinery to Iran. Mr. Skou said Maersk’s Iran operations are small, but with an Iranian population of 80 million, carriers heralded the lifting of earlier sanctions in 2016 as the opening of an important Middle East trade destination.

From Reuters:

Two Indian banks have asked exporters to complete their financial transactions with Iran by August in response to the threat of new U.S. sanctions, according to the country’s main exporters’ organisation and bank letters seen by Reuters.

India and Iran have long-standing political and commercial ties, but New Delhi has been careful to not fall foul of U.S. sanctions on Iran.

The Federation of Indian Exporters Organisation (FIEO) said IndusInd and UCO, the two banks facilitating exports to Iran, had set August 6. as the deadline for winding up deals.

“IndusInd and UCO bank are telling exporters that you complete all Iran business by August 6,” Ajay Sahai, director general of FIEO, told Reuters.

Being able to pressure Iran without having Iran pull out of the deal, as every “expert” predicted? Not bad at all.

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