Iran and European Union attempt to salvage deal

18 May, 2018, 16:19 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Europe to exempt its firms from US sanctions on Iran

The EU and Iran have now set up expert teams to come up with measures quickly and are scheduled to meet in the Austrian capital of Vienna next week at a deputy foreign minister level.

The European Commission is activating the Blocking Regulation that was adopted in 1996 largely as a countermeasure to the USA sanctions against Cuba and Iran.

The 2015 nuclear deal opened Iran to worldwide investments after four decades of sanctions.

The European Union has relaunched an old law to try to protect European businesses at risk of USA sanctions if they continue to trade with Iran.

"We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process to activate the "blocking statute" from 1996".

The commission said it hopes to have the measure in force before Augut 6 when the first batch of USA sanctions take effect.

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".

U.S. sanctions must be reinstated within 90 to 180 days.

The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will decide to approve or reject the proposals within two months, ahead of the first batch of USA sanctions taking effect on August 6.

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.

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

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.

European Union leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the nuclear deal at a summit in the Bulgarian capital Sofia this week, even as multinationals such as the French energy giant Total and Danish shipping company Maersk Line signalled their intention to pull out of Iran.

In addition, Jean-Claude Juncker noted that EU leaders had "also chose to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran" and that the European Commission would continue to cooperate with Iran.

It remains to be seen exactly how the European Union will activate the Blocking Regulation. The measures include continuing to sell Iran's oil and gas products, maintaining effective banking transactions and protecting European investments in Iran.

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