United States Imposes Sanctions on Iran, and Europe’s Dismaying Response
At 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday, August 7, the United States, following its exit from the nuclear deal in May, officially began its first batch of sanctions on Iran.
These sanctions will target financial transactions involving U.S. dollars, Iran’s car-manufacturing sector, the purchase of commercial aircraft, and metals including gold. A second tranche targeting Iran’s oil sector and its central bank is to be reimposed in early November.
The goal is that with financial pressure, the Iranian regime will be coerced into changing its stripes. Or even better (although the U.S. has said this isn’t the goal) that the people of Iran will be affected so much that regime change is demanded by the population. Such an outcome would be good for Iran and the rest of the world but is highly unlikely. To learn why both of these outcomes are near impossible, read our article “Are We Close to Another Iran Deal?”
Naturally, these sanctions don’t just affect Iran but any nation that is doing business with Iran in these sectors.
That fact is where it gets complicated, especially for many European nations who would still like to do business with Iran and keep the nuclear deal.
As an expression of its disagreement with the U.S., the European Union has activated an obscure 1996 law to demand that EU companies reject the U.S.’s demands.
According to the “blocking law,” EU companies will be barred from pulling out of Iran due to pressure from the U.S. without the express approval of the European Commission. If they do so, they will be penalized by their respective governments. It also enables the EU to sue for damages against the entity that imposed the sanctions, which, in this case, is the United States.
While this law sounds pretty impressive, many commentators agree that, in all likelihood, the European diktat will be almost impossible to enforce.
It’s more likely that EU companies will choose to do business with the U.S. over Iran any day of the week, even with such penalties.
However, by even activating this law, something far more damaging is taking place: It is further exacerbating the rift between the United States and its European allies.
We have been drawing attention to this trend all year. In his feature article from last month, “Europe and America: They’ve Lost That Loving Feeling,” theTrumpet.com assistant managing editor Richard Palmer went to great lengths to show the downward spiral of the European-American relationship.
In 2000, 80 percent of Germans said they felt “favorable” about the U.S. By 2015, the number had fallen to 50 percent. By spring 2017, it was only 35 percent. The same year, another poll found that more Germans trusted Russia than the United States.
This is a remarkable shift. A 70-year romance is dying before our eyes.
As Palmer pointed out in his article, this breaking of the relationship between the United States and Europe, particularly Germany, is something we have forecast for not just 10 or 20 years, but for well over 70 years.
But more than just upsetting that relationship, the Iran deal could also split the EU from the nation of Israel.
Following the EU’s decision on the blocking law, Israel’s deputy minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, Michael Oren, accused Europe of moral bankruptcy for siding with Iran.
Iran is in a financial crisis, but the EU is morally bankrupt. Imagine threatening to sanction Europeans who refuse to do business with Iran and help it fund terror in the process—even terror taking place in Europe.
Times of Israel writer Raphael Ahren penned a piece on Tuesday titled “Fractured Union: Israel Has All But Given Up on the EU,” highlighting the intense dissatisfaction with Europe felt within Israel over the Iran deal and a host of other positions that are considered anti-Israeli.
Are we headed for a similar break between Europe and Israel?
No, at least not in the short term.
While Europe’s consistent anti-Israel actions should be instructive, the Bible actually indicates a closer relationship with Europe, especially Germany, will form in the short term. This will be a relationship where Israel actually looks to Germany for help in dealing with its own crises. However, similar to what we are now seeing with the U.S., the partnership will not endure for long. To understand more about Israel’s future, as well as its relationship with Germany, please read Trumpet editor in chief Gerald Flurry’s free booklet Jerusalem in Prophecy.