Switzerland has refused to restrict transactions connected to Iranian oil exports, despite pressure from the European Union to join the international sanctions against Iran.
The Swiss government has rejected proposals to extend its reporting requirements on transactions with Iran to cover offshore branches of oil-trading firms, Reuter’s reports.
In September, Reuters reported that the Geneva-based oil trader Vitol’s branch in Bahrain was purchasing and selling Iranian oil. The report was later confirmed by the company.
Switzerland has not joined the EU boycott of Iranian oil that took effect last July but insists that its decision is based on foreign policy and not commercial interest.
EU sanctions coupled with widespread U.S. sanctions on the Iranian oil and financial sectors have severely restricted Iran’s ability to generate revenues from its oil exports. European companies are also barred from extending insurance to Iranian oil shipments.
Swiss companies are allowed to continue dealing in Iranian oil exports as long as they report it to the government. However, the government has made it clear that offshore branches of Swiss companies are independent and are not required to report to the government on their transactions.
The Swiss government has not been supportive of unilateral sanctions on Iran and has called for more intense diplomatic efforts to resolve the international disputes over Iran’s nuclear program.