European Union shields businesses from fallout of Trump's nuclear sanctions on Iran

18 May, 2018, 15:41 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Europe to exempt its firms from US sanctions on Iran

The Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, ) signed by Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, France, Britain, Russia and China - plus Germany on July 14, 2015, imposes strict restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in return for the loosening of economic sanctions.

Maersk, the world's biggest shipping container firm, the French oil giant Total and German-based insurance firm Allianz have already announced plans to withdraw from operations in Iran, to avoid new U.S. sanctions.

On Friday morning the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, will begin putting a so-called blocking statute in place to shield European companies doing business with Iran from USA sanctions.

The "blocking statute" dates from 1996 and was created to defend companies working in Cuba from the effects of a U.S. trade embargo.

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"It's the duty of the EU to protect European business and that applies in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises", he told a news conference following a summit of EU leaders in Bulgaria on Thursday. The EU will remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal, the European Commission said on Friday.

The step comes after Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Brussels and met with his British, French and German counterparts to discuss the future of the nuclear deal without the US.

We also chose to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran.

They will only into force if they are signed-off by the European Parliament and European Council within the next two months, but that is likely to happen before the United States sanctions take effect on August 6. The Commission itself will maintain its cooperation with Iran.

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In the same year, European Union investment in Iran was valued at €20bn.

"Guarantees of benefits of the JCPOA should be given to Iran".

And, in a bid to reassure the Iranian government of the EU's political commitment to saving the nuclear deal, Energy Commissioner Miguel Canete is visiting Tehran this weekend.

The approach, it said, could ensure Tehran receives its oil-related revenues if U.S. sanctions target European Union firms active in oil transactions with Iran.

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