Clashing With Trump, EU Tries to Blunt US Sanctions on Iran

Frederick Owens
May 18, 2018

Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said on Thursday the commission has a "duty to protect European companies" from American sanctions.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington quit the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which curbed Tehran's nuclear activity in exchange for lifting the UN Security Council's sanctions and unilateral restrictions introduced by the US and the EU. Unless it is formally rejected by the European Parliament and EU governments, the measure will come into force within two months, and can be activated sooner if there is strong political support.

The measure potentially could put European companies in a bind, as they could be forced to choose between compliance with the EU measure and USA secondary sanctions against 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.

"The EU blocking regulation could be of limited effectiveness there, given the global nature of banking system and especially the exposure of large systemic banks to US financial system and USA dollar transactions", he said.

"We must act now" - quoted Juncker DW.

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In a statement, the Commission said it had "launched the formal procedure to activate the "Blocking Statute" by updating the list of USA sanctions against Iran falling within its scope".

Against withdrawal from the agreement made by the leading European Union countries and Russian Federation. By re-introducing it now, the European Union is seeking to ban firms respecting USA sanctions and make related U.S. court rulings non-effective in the EU.

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.

Also, EC has made a decision to allow European Investment Bank to facilitate investment of European companies in the Islamic Republic of Iran, he maintained.

USA individuals and entities are barred from doing business with them following the move.

What action are Europe's businesses taking?

"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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