US lifts sanctions on Italian firm helping Iran

Green light for Italian company that helped Tehran cheat nuclear sanctions; move before implementation day 'shows sanctions regime is dead.'

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

US President Barack Obama's administration has removed the Italian textile and chemical company Dettin Spa from its sanctions list, after the firm helped Iran evade American sanctions.

The lifting of sanctions was announced last Thursday, and an expert cited by the Washington Free Beacon on Tuesday warned the move showed a lenient stance by the US in catering to Iran even before the Islamic regime holds up its side of the controversial nuclear deal.

Dettin Spa still has a presence in Iran, and was sanctioned back in August 2014 for "knowingly providing Iran’s petrochemical industry with goods and support whose value exceeded $250,000," as reported by the US Treasury Department at the time.

When announcing the sanctioning of the company, the Obama administration said, "individuals and companies providing support to illicit Iranian nuclear activities program or engaged in assisting Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions will face serious consequences."

But sanctions for the company's work expanding Tehran's petrochemical industry beyond the limits of an interim nuclear agreement were lifted last week, together with a group of companies that had been sanctioned for business relations with the Cuban regime.

Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iranian dissident and expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Washington Free Beacon that "what raises questions about the de-listing decision is its timing."

"The de-listings are supposed to happen on the implementation day, it is not clear why this company is removed from the sanction list at this time. Removing companies from the sanction list even before the implementation day sends a clear message that Iran is open for business even though Iran has not delivered its nuclear promises yet."

The expert warned that the move "sends a strong signal that the regime of sanctions is dead and doing business with Iran has the blessing of the United States.”

A US State Department official told the paper that the sanctions were lifted after the company protested that it was still being hit with sanctions, in a request that set off "extensive and ongoing consultations" between the US and the company's lawyers. The official said it was determined the company is no longer in violation of the sanctions laws.

Iran has threatened to end the nuclear deal unless all sanctions are removed, despite the fact that the nuclear deal was meant only to remove nuclear related sanctions.

Earlier this month it was revealed that Iran has stopped dismantling its centrifuges at the Natanz and Fordow uranium enrichment plants, breaching the nuclear deal that calls for the dismantling. It also recently bought a plane to deploy troops in Syria in violation of sanctions still in place in the nuclear deal.

The deal has been sharply criticized, both for allowing Iran to inspect its own covert nuclear sites and for having an end date at which time Iran will be able to freely build a nuclear arsenal.