Europe launches business safeguards for Iran trade

Hannah Rogers
May 18, 2018

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

As the world seeks to come to grips with President Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA, it appears that the European Union will play one of its strongest cards by invoking its "Blocking Regulation", which would prohibit European companies from complying with USA sanctions against Iran. "So we have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to protect our European businesses", said Juncker.

A blocking statute is a law enacted in a local jurisdiction that attempts to hinder the application of a law made by a foreign jurisdiction and is widely seen as an attempt to put pressure on Washington not to punish European firms that continue doing business with Iran.

The aim is to have the measure in effect before the first batch of U.S. sanctions kicks in on August 6, the EU's executive said in a statement. A spokesperson for the company told Climate Home News: "We take great care to ensure we always comply with applicable sanctions".

The European Commission said it had started the process of renewing a sanctions-blocking measure to protect European business in Iran, after the United States reimposed sanctions on Tehran.

The European Commission said on Friday the measure would come into force within two months, unless the European Parliament and EU governments formally rejected it.

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Agalarov was a partner of Trump's in staging the Miss Universe pageant in Moscow in 2013. He wrote that Agalarov hoped the document would be delivered to "the appropriate team".

"But the American sanctions will not be without effect".

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 United States sanctions. The EU will remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal, the European Commission said on Friday.

It further pledged to continue energy sector cooperation, with EU Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete due to visit Tehran at the weekend.

The European Union is trying to find ways to keep Iran in the 2015 accord by safeguarding the economic benefits of the nuclear deal after US President Donald Trump abruptly pulled out of the deal.

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

UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson cast doubt on the EU's ability to prevent the re-imposition of USA sanctions that also seek to punish foreign companies for doing business with Iran.

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