EU to block US anti-Iran sanctions

EU to block US anti-Iran sanctions

The European Union will block the anti-Iran sanctions on its territory imposed by the United States to protect European countries, the European Commission said.

"We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the U.S., due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action," the EU’s high representative for foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini, said in the statement, also signed by the foreign ministers Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, Heiko Maas of Germany, and Jeremy Hunt of the United Kingdom said in a joint statement.

“The JCPOA is working and delivering on its goal, namely to ensure that the Iranian program remains exclusively peaceful, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency,” they said.

"This is why the European Union's updated Blocking Statute will enter into force on August 7 to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions," the statement reads.

The statute will forbid European businesses from complying with the US sanctions, nullifying any foreign court rulings against them and allowing them to recover damages from the penalties.

The European politicians also confirmed their commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as Iranian Nuclear deal.

"The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran's export of oil and gas," the statement added.

The senior research fellow at the European Research Centre of the International Relations Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Vladimir Olenchenko, speaking with a correspondent of Vestnik Kavkaza, noted that the procedure for such a blockade of US sanctions have not yet been worked out. "The issue is acute, because the EU has developed extensive cooperation with Iran, and the US has started to exert pressure on Iranian partners, including the sanctions regime. Recently, the US ambassador in Germany threatened that German companies would be punished for cooperating with Tehran. As for a response to US threats, it remains vague. For example, the EU may introduce a tit-for-tat response against US companies in Europe, in particular against Microsoft," he said.

The absence of a text of new US sanctions against Iran adds an additional layer of uncertainty. "It is not yet known whether they will freeze assets, or create difficulties for conducting transactions with Iranian companies. By the way, the EU can easily do the same thing for US companies whose assets are located in Europe. But so far this statement should be regarded only as a warning for the US that if they take any measures, it will not go unanswered," Vladimir Olenchenko stressed.