The European Investment Bank (EIB) would put at risk its model business if it were active in Iran, the organization’s president Werner Hoyer said. “There is no European bank which is presently able to do businesses in or with Iran,” he told the media, while pointing to US sanctions after its pullout from the nuclear deal.
Mr. Hoyer nonetheless praised the European diplomacy in Iran which he described as “one of its finest pieces” he has ever seen. He said that the current EU policy towards Tehran should be preserved but despite his endorsement, “when it comes to acting as a bank, you have to see the limitations,” Mr. Hoyer admitted. The EIB’s president also upheld the current position of the EU institutions, stressing that it was unfortunate that the EIB could not play an active role. “We must find most intelligent ways to support a policy vis-à-vis Iran and the United States of America,” the banker said.
Following the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, the Commission committed to protecting and preserving EU businesses’ interests in the country including removing barriers for the EIB to provide funding for the projects in Iran. The investment bank was seeking to support small and medium-size enterprises in the country, which would help offset the negative impact of US sanctions and boost liquidity. The EU Parliament supported this plan but it is now currently off the table. The bank’s leadership confirmed that it would not operate in Iran as it could mean the loss of access to US capital markets.