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Bolton: U.S. Will Be “Aggressive and Unwavering” On Iran Oil Sanctions

The United States will be “aggressive and unwavering” in enforcing the sanctions on Iran and won’t let those sanctions be evaded by the European Union or anyone else, U.S. national security advisor John Bolton said yesterday, dismissing the EU’s decision to create a special legal entity for transactions with Iran.

On Monday, the foreign ministers of China, France, Germany, Russia, and the UK—the countries still in the Iran nuclear deal—met with Iran’s foreign minister and decided to create a special purpose vehicle for dealings with Iran. After the meeting, Federica Mogherini, the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said that with the planned vehicle, “In practical terms this will mean that EU Member States will set up a legal entity to facilitate legitimate financial transactions with Iran and this will allow European companies to continue trade with Iran, in accordance with European Union law, and could be opened to other partners in the world.”

Bolton, however, slammed the EU plan, saying at a conference, as quoted by Reuters:

“The European Union is strong on rhetoric and weak on follow-through.”

“We will be watching the development of this structure that doesn’t exist yet and has no target date to be created. We do not intend to allow our sanctions to be evaded by Europe or anybody else,” Bolton said.

Related: OPEC's No.4 Vows To Boost Spare Oil Capacity

The national security advisor reaffirmed the U.S. stance that it expects Iranian oil customers to have cut their imports of oil from Tehran to zero by November 4, and urged banking and financial services to rethink deals with Iran.

“Banks and financial messaging services such as SWIFT must take a good hard look at their business with Iran and ask themselves whether it is worth the risk,” Bolton said.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also criticized the EU plan for continuing transactions with Iran.

“Unfortunately, just last night I was disturbed and indeed deeply disappointed to hear remaining parties in the Iran (nuclear) deal announce they are setting up a special payment system to bypass U.S. sanctions. This is one of the most counterproductive measures imaginable for regional global peace and security,” Pompeo said at conference, as carried by Reuters.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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