European Union to Keep Iran Nuclear Deal

The European Union started activating measures to keep the Iran nuclear agreement and to protect EU companies operating in the country.

EU has launched a bid to save the nuclear deal as the bloc reiterated support for the landmark deal after President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from it.

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm in Brussels, on Friday began putting a so-called blocking statute in place to shield European companies doing business with Iran from U.S. sanctions. It’s the first time in more than two decades that the measure is being invoked.

European Union to Keep Iran Nuclear Deal (2)

U.S. Sanctions Statute

The blocking statute, which would prevent EU companies “from complying with the extraterritorial effects of U.S. sanctions,” is anticipated to be in place by Aug. 6, the commission said.

The measure would also allow companies to recover damages arising from the sanctions and would nullify the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgments based on them.

Additionally, the commission also moved to allow the European Investment Bank to decide under the EU budget guarantee to finance activities in Iran, with a special aim at small and medium-sized businesses.

Lastly, the commission is encouraging EU governments to explore the possibility of one-off bank transfers to the Central Bank of Iran, which could help the country to receive oil-related revenues.

According to the commission, EU leaders gave the green light to the measures at a meeting in Bulgaria earlier this week. The 28 EU governments and the European Parliament have two months to object to the measures.

Blocking Mechanism

Trans-Atlantic tensions came to a head with Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord, which the remaining participants — Russia, China, France, Germany and the U.K., along with the EU — all say are working.

Trump’s move came despite talks that were underway with European allies over how to improve the nuclear deal.

The EU actions are no guarantee that the accord can be salvaged. The U.S. Treasury Department has said companies with existing contracts will have 90 to 180 days to extract themselves from their Iran dealings before becoming subject to penalties.

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