A new era has begun in the European Union (EU)-Iran relations recently where the two sides are constantly involved in a sanctions-countersanctions business.
On April 11, 2012, Germany also saw its name on the list of the European states to which Iran halted its oil exports with Tehran signaling now to Italy as next in line for these countersanctions.
The list, of course, has seen big names like Britain and France and more recently Spain and the debt stricken Greece. This all happens as some of these countries were preparing themselves to replace imports of oil from Iran with those from other oil producing countries which, by the way, often unfoundedly boast about their “unlimited” oil production capacity. Iran has stopped oil imports to these EU states before they can even begin the ban on Iran oil sector or to ponder how they are going to repalce Tehran in their energy basket. It is needless to mention the Tehran act is in reaction to first being banned by the EU from trading with the bloc’s member states and its assets being frozen at Iran Central Bank branches located within the EU.
The game the US began against Tehran of sanctioning anything and everything that has to do with Iran since three decades ago found new dimensions when it was joined by Europe. Sanctions that have, honestly speaking, targeted the civilian population in Iran more than anyone or anything else. Who would not agree, for instance, to the fact that banning the sales of civilian airliners or even their spare parts to Iran affects anyone other than ordinary people?!
Now, if one talks of oil sanctions against any one country in the US, it will be of no surprise since many examples can be found where Washington has imposed a sanction(s) of one type or another on a country. In the case of the oil sanctions against Iran, one might also think that, after all, America itself is an oil producer, hence, banning Iran oil, however hard to explain to people at the gas pumps, might be justifiable under political terms.
But when there is talk of Europe banning Iran trade and oil, especially at a hard economic time like today, a big question mark appears above everyone’s head that how are they (EU states) going to deal with that? Does Europe produce enough oil? Are the Europeans, whose countries were, ironically, already defaulting on their oil payments to Iran ready to bear more economic difficulties? Are people in Europe seriously as prepared as their Iranian counterparts who have had to live under different US and international sanctions for almost 3 decades? To what extent do they see themselves as responsible for the decisions their respective governments make? To what extent do they honestly see their officials having to go through the same difficulties predictably arising from acts like putting bans on Iran?
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