EU Unites on Iran With Moves to Counter Sanctions

18 May, 2018, 16:16 | Author: Bert Pena
  • Europe to exempt its firms from US sanctions on Iran

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

President Jean-Claude Juncker said the commission would revive legislation - known as the blocking statute - which bans European companies from complying with the USA sanctions against Iran and stops foreign court judgments based on these laws being effective in the EU.

European businesses will be sheltered from the fallout of Donald Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal under a previously unused EU trade protection law.

The Blocking Statute forbids European Union companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of USA sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions, and nullifies the effect in the European Union of any foreign court judgements based on them.

So the European Commission has kicked off the formal process to activate a "blocking statute" which gives EU companies the go-ahead to ignore the USA sanctions.

The European Commission, the bloc's executive, said it had started the process of renewing a sanctions-blocking measure this morning. A spokesperson for the company told Climate Home News: "We take great care to ensure we always comply with applicable sanctions".

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The Commission said it would also keep aid money flowing to Iran, part of its efforts to uphold Europe's side of the 2015 nuclear deal, which offers sanctions relief in return for Tehran shutting down its capacity, under strict surveillance by the United Nations nuclear watchdog, to stockpile enriched uranium for a possible atomic bomb.

European companies that invested in Iran after the deal are already taking fright, with French energy giant Total warning it could pull out, and Danish shipping giant Maersk and German insurer Allianz also saying they plan to wind down activities there.

It remains to be seen exactly how the European Union will activate the Blocking Regulation.

The Commission said European Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete will meet Iranian officials in Tehran during a three-day trip from May 18 to try to reassure Iran and strengthen energy relations.

Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said on Thursday the commission has a "duty to protect European companies" from American sanctions. It has also facilitated the ability of the European Investment Bank to support investment in small and medium-sized enterprises in Iran.

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