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December 12, 2018 10:59 am

EU Seeking to Help Iran as US Gets Tougher, Pressing Allies

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU’s Foreign Affairs and Security Policy head Federica Mogherini at a meeting on the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal on Sept. 22, 2016, in New York. Photo: UN Photo/Amanda Voisard. – Amid US sanctions against Iran, the European Union is seeking to assist the regime while the US and Canada have taken tougher measures such as pressing allies to punish the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism and calling on the Islamic Republic to release American hostages.

EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy head Federica Mogherini told reporters on Monday that a sanctions workaround to assist firms doing business with Iran will be done by the end of the year.

“I would expect this instrument to be established in the coming weeks, so before the end of the year, as a way to protect and promote legitimate business with Iran,” she said. “Work is advancing well.”

In August, the EU announced $21 million in financial support as the first part of an overall $58 million package for Iran.

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Meanwhile, the US has urged its allies to follow its lead in putting pressure on the regime.

US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry said on Tuesday in Iraq that he discussed Iraqi sanctions against Iran, though he did not give details, according to Reuters.

Additionally, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on Iran to release “innocent Americans held hostage” such as former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who disappeared 11 years ago. There are unverifiable reports Levinson died, but there are also unconfirmed reports he is in captivity in eastern Iran. Other prisoners include Karan Vafadari, Xiyue Wang, Serkan Golge, Reza Shahini, and Baquer and Siamak Namazi.

To the north, Canadian lawmakers called on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government to enact sanctions against Iran for human-rights violations. They also called for the release of several citizens held hostage in Iran.

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