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Iran nuclear deal: European Union looks to avoid impact of United States sanctions

18 May, 2018, 15:43 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Europe to exempt its firms from US sanctions on Iran

The European Union took formal steps Friday to shield its firms from USA sanctions on Iran as part of efforts to save the global nuclear deal with Tehran. "So we have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs".

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.

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 USA sanctions take effect on August 6.

The European Commission said on Friday that it had "launched the formal process to activate the Blocking Statute by updating the list of USA sanctions on Iran falling within its scope".

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

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.

Some of Europe's biggest firms had rushed to do business with Iran after the nuclear deal took effect.

During talks in Brussels on Tuesday, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said efforts to save the deal were on the "right track".

In a Friday statement, the Commission also said it "will continue and strengthen the ongoing sectoral cooperation with, and assistance to, Iran, including in the energy sector and with regard to small and medium-sized companies". Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Canete will travel to Tehran this weekend. According to European sources, this measure may become the EU's first step towards ditching dollar in trade with Iran.

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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