Thursday, 15 November, 2018

European Union vows to block blow of US Iran sanctions

Exit raises doubts whether European leaders can keep the Iran nuke deal alive Exit raises doubts whether European leaders can keep the Iran nuke deal alive
Lisa Bryan | 18 May, 2018, 15:41

"We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process to activate the "blocking statute" from 1996", Juncker said during Thursday's meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria.

"We have the duty to protect European companies", Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said following a meeting of European Union leaders Thursday, May 17 in Sofia, Bulgaria, "We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process".

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.

Juncker's announcement comes after U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the global deal with Iran, which placed limits on Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an announcement that "sanctions will be reimposed subject to certain 90-day and 180-day wind-down periods".

The European Commission has begun work to implement a law which prohibits European companies from adhering to US sanctions against Iran, a move to help keep the Iran nuclear agreement intact and to defend European corporate interests.


As the European signatories of the JCPoA, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have repeated their commitment to the deal, and discussed compensatory measures to ensure that USA sanctions do not make the agreement void. 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.

Some will come into effect by early August, with other sanctions coming into force by the beginning of November.

European investments in Iran, mainly from Germany, France, and Italy, have jumped by more than 20 billion euros since 2016.

The European Commission is also encouraging member-states to "explore the possibility of one-off bank transfers to the Central Bank of Iran".

The White House said that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) provides Iran with opportunities for creating a nuclear bomb by evading all current restrictions.

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