European Union launches measures to protect European Union business in Iran

Pauline Gross
May 18, 2018

"US sanctions will not be without effect, so it is our duty, in the Commission and in the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs", said Friday. the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Iranian Foreign Minister and foreign ministers of major world powers stand for a photo after reaching a historic nuclear accord in 2015. "We will have to see whether those remaining in the JCPOA can deliver those benefits to Iran", he said in the Belgian capital on Tuesday.

Moreover, the Europeans' commitment to the nuclear deal may come with strings attached, including their demands that Iran restrict its missile capabilities as well as its role in the Middle East.

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, however, said she could not talk about giving Iran guarantees for the economic benefits of the 2015 agreement. Washington also warned European firms will face penalties if they sign new contracts.

According to the Chairman of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, on Friday, may 18, the law will be amended to include provisions about new US sanctions against Iran.

This mechanism, dating back to 1996 and never used, adopted at the time to circumvent the embargo on Cuba, allows European companies and courts not to submit to regulations relating to sanctions taken by third countries.

The so-called "blocking statute" was introduced in 1996 to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Cuba but was never used.

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Other measures proposed by the Commission, the EU executive, include urging EU governments to make transfers to Iran's central bank and to start the legal process of allowing the European Investment Bank to lend to EU projects in Iran.

Privately, some European leaders acknowledge the scope for effective action is limited.

Danish shipping giant Maersk Tankers also said Thursday it would cease its activities in Iran, while German insurer Allianz announced plans to wind down its business deals there.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that it might be possible to compensate small and medium-sized firms, but not all businesses, from United States sanctions.

"We're not going to force French businesses to stay in Iran".

Mr. Trump's Iran decision is part of a broader pattern of actions that have deeply frustrated America's European allies.

Other reports by GizPress

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