A new report released by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) suggests the U.S. should still work to bridge its differences with Europe, as the violent Islamism of Iran’s clerical regime poses as much of a threat to Europe as it does to the United States.
The report observed that major international corporations are leaving Iran rather than face the risk of unilateral U.S. sanctions, despite the efforts of European governments to neutralize the sanctions’ impact.
The research report Foreign Investment in Iran: Multinational Firms’ Compliance with U.S. Sanctions observed that "31 European and Asian firms in the Global 500 announced they will be leaving the Iranian market or indicated their exit was imminent," within the first four months following the US pull-out from the nuclear deal with Iran.
The list of the companies that have already left Iran includes France’s Total, Airbus, and PSA/Peugeot, Denmark’s Maersk, Germany’s Allianz and Siemens, Italy’s Eni, Japan’s Mazda and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and BP from the United Kingdom.
According to Renault, a company that originally determined to continue business in Iran in spite of US sanctions, but later said it is likely to leave fearing the impact of US sanctions.
“We found that unilateral U.S. sanctions against Iran remain extremely powerful even when European governments seek to neutralize their impact,” said FDD Director of Research and co-author David Adesnik. “If the U.S. administration’s goal is to convince Iran to end its nuclear program, stop sponsoring terrorism, and halt its support for the murderous Assad regime in Syria, then the administration should maintain its maximum pressure effort.”
Meanwhile, FDD Research Fellow and report co-author Saeed Ghasseminejad said “At a time when its economy is already in crisis and its currency is collapsing, Iran is rapidly losing the most important investments made as a result of the 2015 nuclear deal.”
The report concludes that "The U.S. should still work to bridge its differences with Europe, however, since a united front would dash Iranian hopes of sowing division in the West," adding that "European leaders should work with the U.S. to fix the principal flaws of the nuclear deal while holding Iran accountable for its aggression, terrorism, and human rights violations."
Ultimately, the violent Islamism of Iran’s clerical regime poses as much of a threat to Europe as it does to the United States, the report maintains.
The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a Washington-based non-partisan policy institute focusing on foreign policy and national security.