Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

EU Launches Measures To Preserve Iran Nuclear Deal

EU Launches Measures To Preserve Iran Nuclear Deal

This mechanism, dating back to 1996 and never used, adopted at the time to circumvent the embargo on Cuba, allows European companies and courts not to submit to regulations relating to sanctions taken by third countries.

Otherwise it would look elsewhere for energy supplies, he hinted, saying the commission may use a 1990s law to ban European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions on Iran. "But the American sanctions will not be without effect, so we have the duty... to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs".

The "blocking statute" dates from 1996 and was created to defend companies working in Cuba from the effects of a USA trade embargo.

"We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process to activate the "blocking statute" from 1996", Juncker said during Thursday's meeting of European Union foreign ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington quit the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which curbed Tehran's nuclear activity in exchange for lifting the UN Security Council's sanctions and unilateral restrictions introduced by the US and the EU.

The European Commission, the bloc's executive, said it had started the process of renewing a sanctions-blocking measure this morning.

United States sanctions must be reinstated within 90 to 180 days.

Unless it is formally rejected by the European Parliament and EU governments, the measure will come into force within two months, and can be activated sooner if there is strong political support.

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.

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.

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.

The Commission itself will maintain its cooperation with Iran. The EU will remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal, the European Commission said on Friday.

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