Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

European Union defies Trump with move to 'block' US Iran sanctions

European Union defies Trump with move to 'block' US Iran sanctions

The European Commission has launched Friday the "blocking law", a device for protecting European companies against the sanctions the United States is preparing to reinstate against Iran.

The EU needs to safeguard Iran's economic benefits as well as its own, in order to keep Tehran in the 2015 worldwide nuclear deal and prevent its collapse.

For this goal, European Union will enact a law to ban its companies from U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran, Juncker maintained.

It comes after the US President pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord and gave businesses around the world notice to end their dealings with Tehran.

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Much to Europe's displeasure, foreign companies doing business with Iran are also at the crosshairs of the US sanctions.

We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process of to activate the "blocking statute" from 1996.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker described the meeting of leaders in Sofia as a show of unity among member states, and emphasised that the EU has a responsibility towards both the JCPoA and the European businesses that will be affected in the wake of new USA sanctions. However, the Cuba row was settled politically, so the blocking regulation's effectiveness was never put to the test, and its value may lie more as a bargaining chip with Washington.

The first step was to activate the "blocking statute" that "forbids European Union companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of USA sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the European Union of any foreign court judgements based on them", the document says.

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In the same year, European Union investment in Iran was valued at €20bn. The Commission itself will maintain its cooperation with Iran. Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete will travel to Tehran this weekend.

The US Treasury has said it is giving European companies three to six months to wind down their business in Iran or face sanctions as well.

Tehran has warned it is ready to resume no-holds-barred "industrial-scale" uranium enrichment unless Europe can provide solid guarantees to preserve Iran's economic benefits under the deal.

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