Swiss baulk at US demands for Iran sanctions

Iranian protesters burn the US flag in Tehran in protest at the US pulling out of the nuclear deal. Keystone

The threat of further United States sanctions against companies that trade in Iran has drawn a strong backlash from Swiss politicians, who are demanding that Switzerland joins a Europe-wide rejection of such measures.

This content was published on May 13, 2018 - 13:36

Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump said he was pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal and would re-impose economic sanctions against the Middle East country. Sanctions extend to any company that conducts business in Iran, which have been given notice by the US to wind down activities. 

Exports from Switzerland to Iran rose steadily in the last two years since the last round of sanctions was eased. Exports reached CHF536 million ($535.5 million) last year from a low of CHF333 million in 2012.

+ Read about Swiss-Iran trade

Politicians from across the political spectrum have responded to the new threat of sanctions by demanding that Switzerland stands up to the US. “The US may not act as the sheriff of the global economy,” Social Democrat parliamentarian Carlo Sommaruga told the SonntagsZeitung newspaper.

People’s Party politician Albert Rösti said he has called on Swiss Economics Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann to find a diplomatic solution with Washington. The economics ministry has not officially responded to the demands.

Several European countries, led by France, have expressed opposition to the latest US sanctions threats.

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