Switzerland’s refusal to yield to pressure from the United States in adopting the US-engineered European Union (EU) sanctions against Iran has “disappointed” Washington, the US envoy to Bern says. Under the United States' sway, EU foreign ministers agreed to ban oil imports from Iran on January 23 and to freeze the assets of the Iranian Central Bank across the EU in a bid to pressure Iran over its nuclear energy program. The embargoes are slated to go into force as of July 1. The move came after the US imposed new sanctions against Iran on the New Year’s Eve with the aim of preventing other countries from importing Iranian oil and conducting transactions with its central bank.
Switzerland, which is not an EU member and not under "legal" obligation to adopt the US-led sanctions against Iran, has thus far refused to yield to the American pressure to adopt the embargoes, postponing it to a 'later date.' It also exempted the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) from asset freeze."We expressed our disappointment. We would like them (Swiss officials) to do it (adopt the US-engineered EU sanctions on Iran)," US Ambassador to Switzerland Donald S. Beyer told a news conference in Geneva on Wednesday. The Swiss embassy in Tehran has been serving as Washington's interest section since Iran severed ties with the US around 33 years ago. The US, Israel and some of their allies accuse Tehran of pursuing military objectives in its nuclear energy program. Iran has repeatedly refuted the allegations, arguing that as a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the International Atomic Energy Agency, it is entitled to develop and acquire nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. YH/AZ/HJL