Radio Sputnik discussed this with professor Seyed Mohammad Marandi, an expert on American studies from the University of Tehran.
Sputnik: What are your thoughts on this particular matter regarding the UK firm pulling out from a multimillion deal with Iran due to American sanctions? Do you think more firms will follow now?
Seyed Mohammad Marandi: I think what people should keep in mind is that what the United States is trying to do, effectively, is harm ordinary Iranians and as we can see the targets are Iran's infrastructure, the livelihood of ordinary people and the welfare of Iranian cities, and it has nothing to do with Iran's nuclear program. It's just an attempt to cooperate. The other point that I think is important to keep in mind is the fact that EU countries are allowing their companies to submit their […] — not only are they showing themselves as weak and incapable of defending their own sovereignty but also they're trying to harm their own citizen by allowing the Americans to bully them.
Sputnik: Is there anything realistically that the Iranian government and people can do to retaliate with regard to this? Because obviously you've got five of the other key signees of this agreement who disagree with the United States — what can be done then?
Sputnik: I think that you're absolutely right. Now, the EU has vowed to protect the deal and shield its companies from US sanctions; do you think this really is the case? We've got a question that on the back of the fact that the French company Total has pulled out, I think Daimler, the German company, has pulled out. It looks as though, as per your point, the EU companies cannot or are unwilling to stand up to the American administration and this ongoing pressure of sanctions. What's your particular point of view on that?
Seyed Mohammad Marandi: Again, I think that this is a decisive moment for the Europeans because if the United States gets away with bullying the European Union and the UK as well, then in the future this will mean no […] any more. So the Russians, the Chinese, Latin American countries and the African nations will all recognize that Europe is not important enough to negotiation with, either you negotiate with the Americans or you get away from the Americans.
What the Iranians are doing right now is that they are moving away, for example, from the US dollar and they are speaking to the Chinese about increasing the convertibility of the yuan. Over the past few months the Europeans have been saying that they're going to create an alternative mechanism to continue trading with Iran, but so far we've seen almost nothing; we've seen no real protection of their companies and citizens, who're being bullied by the Americans and we are seeing no new structures being created by the EU to help, for example, the euro as a means for trading with Iran. And they are not protecting companies that actually import Iranian oil.
Seyed Mohammad Marandi: This will be difficult. I mean, life in Iran is normal, it's not like the country is facing any crisis, but it is making life more difficult, and therefore the decision by Iranians […]. If the Iranians feel that staying within the nuclear deal is not a useful option for Iran, then I think that there will be a strong incentive to leave the deal. After all, it's not meaningful for Iran to be a part of a nuclear deal if they don't benefit from it.
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