Iran is receiving unexpected help in its efforts to crawl out from underneath tough sanctions stemming from the United States' decision to pull out of the Iran deal.
Both the European Union and the British government have taken the first steps. Meeting in Strasbourg on Thursday, the European parliament voted to give the European Investment Bank (EIB) permission to conduct financial services with Iran for the first time.
Financial experts say this will easily open the door to the EIB — conducting full-scale operations in Iran and making significant loans to Iranian businesses from its estimated balance of $500 billion.
“This essentially permits the EIB to do business with Iran by undercutting the sanctions that snapped back when [Trump] canceled the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [the official name of the Iran nuclear agreement]," British parliament member Nathan Gill told Newsmax.
A motion to stop the EIB lending sponsored by Gill and other members from the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) was voted down by a margin of 573 to 93.
Under the United Kingdom’s Withdrawal Agreement from the EU, the Theresa May government will continue to permit the EIB to do business in London with complete legal immunity. In so doing, it takes its first major action on the foreign policy front since leaving the EU after the Brexit referendum of 2016.
“In short, the provision by the UK to grant the EIB immunity in the City of London allows the EIB to navigate around U.S. sanctions — and that undermines America's geopolitical position,” said Gill, who was part of the winning “leave” forces in the United Kingdom’s 2016 Brexit campaign.
Gill added that this decision “would suggest for the moment, that when it comes to foreign policy decisions, the U.K. has decided to stay completely aligned to the EU, instead of forging an independent path including collaboration with its transatlantic ally.”
During a briefing by senior administration officials on the president’s upcoming trip to London, there was no mention of this action by the May government or whether the president would approach the subject with the prime minister during their talks.
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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