Sat Mar 4, 2017 11:32AM
European banks fear to be fined like BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Societe Generale Bank Jordan by the US.
European banks fear to be fined like BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Societe Generale Bank Jordan by the US.

The US government has thwarted many funding projects and deals in Iran during the past months, a London-based daily says. 

Citing European banks’ sources, Asharq al-Awsat said many visits by European delegations to Tehran since the lifting of sanctions on Iran in January 2016 had failed to bear fruit.

The sanctions were removed under a nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic, but Washington has imposed new penalties under numerous pretexts, including over Iran’s missile defense program.

The paper said European investors had to forgo most projects because their operations fell foul of sanctions imposed on a number of Iranian entities blacklisted by US Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC).   

One French banker told the paper they abolished certain operations in Iran because they feared to be fined like BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Societe Generale Bank Jordan which had to cough up $15 billion in penalties.

A German banker revealed that “most of the business visits by German, French and Swiss delegations to Tehran since the lifting of sanctions went in vain.”

“There is a serious concern among huge western banks because they don’t want to take the risk,” Asharq al-Awsat quoted the unnamed official as saying.  

Some board members of a European bank were shocked to find they had been banned from travelling to the US, the paper added.

Those bans appear to be in line with US President Donald Trump's executive order suspending immigration and visas for citizens from Iran and six other countries with majority Muslim populations.

Senior Iranian officials have repeatedly complained that the US is not adhering to its end of the bargain in the nuclear agreement. The Europeans agree but they mostly play a double game, refusing to commit to serious trade with the Islamic Republic.