Analysis by PMOI/MEK
July 8, 2018 - On Saturday, July 7, 2018, CMA CGM, the largest French shipping company, declared its decision to pull out of Iran to avoid running afoul of U.S. sanctions against the Iranian regime. CMA CGM also operates the world third-largest container shipping fleet in the world, accounting for 11 percent of the global capacity.
Danish conglomerate A.P. Moller-Maersk, the leading shipping container company, declared its pullback from Iran’s market in May, following the Trump administration’s decision to leave the nuclear deal forged with the Iranian regime on grounds that the accord did not address the challenges posed by Tehran to world security and stability.
The regime relies on the services of firms such as CMA CGM and Maersk for the export of oil. Without their support, it will find it even harder to circumvent international sanctions.
CMA CGM’s decision comes at an especially unfortunate time for the Iranian regime. Last week, Hassan Rouhani, the regime’s president, headed for Vienna to negotiate with his European counterparts about how to keep the nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), alive and maintain economic ties with Tehran in wake of U.S. sanctions.
The decision by CMA CGM shows that while European heads of state might try to save face and make statements about commitment to maintaining ties with the Iranian regime, the companies that have to implement those decisions are much more realistic in their decisions and prefer not to risk being in violation of international sanctions.
The episode once again shows the erroneousness of efforts to find compromises to benefit from Iran’s economy while avoiding to confront the regime on its terrorism intervention in neighboring countries and its human rights violations at home.
European states are also under an increasing pressure to put their economic interests before their moral obligations. In the Free Iran Gathering, the Iranian opposition’s large rally in Paris, numerous politicians from different countries criticized European governments for their disinterest in applying sanctions against the Iranian regime’s nefarious activities, especially as widespread protests across Iran are calling for the toppling of the regime.
What makes this all the more stinging for Tehran is that it’s happening against the backdrop of a number of setbacks that the Iranian regime has faced in the past weeks. Last week, the Belgian police foiled the regime’s terrorist plot to disrupt the Iranian opposition gathering. A diplomat and several operatives of the Iranian regime were arrested in the process, and investigations on the matter continue.
As more and more European companies continue to pull out of Iran, the Iranian regime is finding it harder and harder to use Europe as a shield in the fast expanding international movement to adopt a tougher policy against Tehran.