Friday, 22 June, 2018

European Union considers little-used statute to block United States sanctions over Iran

French oil giant Total is preparing to pull out of Iran to avoid risking US sanctions French oil giant Total is preparing to pull out of Iran to avoid risking US sanctions
Gerardo Duncan | 18 May, 2018, 16:18

US President Donald Trump last week controversially pulled Washington out of the 2015 global deal with Iran that placed limits on its nuclear programme in return for easing economic sanctions.

The EU's blocking statute bans any EU company from complying with US sanctions and does not recognize any court rulings that enforce American penalties.

US President Donald Trump's decision to walk away from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran has raised serious concerns and worries among America's European allies.

The Commission said in a statement it had 'launched the formal process to activate the Blocking Statute by updating the list of USA sanctions on Iran falling within its scope, ' referring to an European Union regulation from 1996.

"This will allow the EIB to support European Union investment in Iran", it added, noting the measure could help small and medium-sized companies.

Brussels also needs to prove that Washington can not dictate how European businesses operate.

The measures announced in Brussels will come into force within two months unless the European Parliament or the EU governments formally reject them.

However, there are signs that European and multinational businesses - faced with a choice between cutting ties with Iran and jeopardising operations in the world's biggest economy, the United States - are opting for the former.

"Following the green light of EU leaders at the informal meeting in Sofia (the EU-Western Balkans summit on May 16-17), the European Commission has today taken steps to preserve the interests of European companies investing in Iran and demonstrate the EU's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the Iran nuclear deal", the document said. The EU will remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal, the European Commission said on Friday.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel acknowledged the deal "certainly has weaknesses", but said that sticking to it was the best way forward.

"We have to be realistic about the electrified rail, the live wire of American extra-territoriality and how (it) can serve as a deterrent to business", Johnson said.

Meanwhile, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation called on the European signatories to make up for the United States withdrawal from the agreement. "The president of the French republic is not the CEO of Total", said French President Emmanuel Macron, commenting on the decision by the French oil firm to withdraw from an Iranian project.

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