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Esfandyar Batmanghelidj

Europe’s Trade With Iran Is Worth Saving

Despite U.S. sanctions, the EU exports billions of dollars in industrial goods to the Islamic Republic. 

Trading partners.

Trading partners.

Photographer: Ludovic Marin/AFP/Getty Images

Can trade between Europe and Iran be saved? French President Emmanuel Macron’s $17 billion Hail Mary pass came up short. Instex, the so-called “special purpose vehicle” to evade American sanctions, is stuck in the doldrums. Most European companies are steering clear of business with Iran. European imports of Iranian oil have dropped to zero.

As the Trump administration’s “maximum pressure” sanctions campaign rolls on, it might seem like Europe not only lacks the means to defend its trade with the Islamic Republic, but also that there’s little left to defend.