European Commission decides to blocs USA sanctions against Iran on its territory
May 18, 2018, 14:46
Last week, the U.S. sanctioned six people and three companies it said had ties to Iran's elite military force. But the American sanctions will not be without effect.
Historic deal on Iran's nuclear program from 2015 provides for the removal of sanctions against Iran in exchange for limiting its opportunities for the enrichment and storage of nuclear materials.
The European Commission received the unanimous backing of EU heads of government to proceed with proposals made by commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative Federica Mogherini, which aim to protect European companies investing in Iran through action on four fronts.
The EU decision will allow the European companies to ignore the USA sanctions against Tehran. The "blocking statute" is a 1996 regulation originally created to get around Washington's trade embargo on Cuba, which prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with specific foreign sanction laws, and says no foreign court judgments based on these laws have any effect in the European Union.
Why is the United States imposing sanctions on Iran?
Brussels also needs to prove that Washington can not dictate how European businesses operate.
"If we back down step by step, if we acquiesce, if we become a kind of junior partner of the USA then we are lost", moments ago Reuters reported that the European Commission is set to launch tomorrow the process of activating a law that bans European companies from complying with USA sanctions against Iran and does not recognise any court rulings that enforce American penalties. So we have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs, " added Juncker.
However, there are signs that European and multinational businesses - faced with a choice between cutting ties with Iran and jeopardising operations in the world's biggest economy, the United States - are opting for the former. A Dutch container shipping company, an Italian steelmaker and a French oil company all say they've ended business in Iran or that they plan to do so.
European Council President Donald Tusk said EU leaders had agreed to give the Commission the green light to act whenever European interests were affected. "We can not and must not create illusions", she said. "We have pledged to take necessary political steps for our companies to stay in Iran".
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