January 10, 2014 | Quote
Sources: Italy Leading Charge to Collapse Iran Sanctions
U.S. officials are concerned that the Italian government’s recent rush to reenter the Iranian marketplace could hasten the collapse of international economic sanctions and undermine Western efforts to pressure Tehran into inking a final nuclear deal.
The Italian government has been leading the charge to reopen the Iranian marketplace in order to cash in on Tehran’s lucrative energy sector, according to numerous reports and sources tracking the situation.
As the Italians seek to boost their economic ties with Iran—sending high-level officials and lawmakers for talks—U.S. officials and other experts say they are growing concerned that Italy’s aggressive outreach could undermine the international sanctions regime.
Emanuele Ottolenghi, an Iran expert and senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), said that Italy is determined to do business with Tehran.
“Italy did not even wait for the interim deal in Geneva to rekindle its business love affair with Iran,” Ottolenghi told the Washington Free Beacon. “Italy’s deputy foreign minister, Lapo Pistelli, visited Tehran to attend President Rouhani’s swearing in ceremony last August and has tirelessly called to turn a new page.”
“Italy’s foreign minister, Emma Bonino, was the first EU minister to visit Tehran after the Geneva Interim Deal, showing how the current Italian government, despite protestations to the contrary, is driven more by economic incentives than a commitment to non-proliferation issues,” he said.