EU takes steps to protect European companies investing in Iran

EU takes steps to protect European companies investing in Iran

The European Commission, the EU executive, said it "launched the formal process to activate the Blocking Statute by updating the list of U.S. sanctions on Iran falling within its scope".

The EU executive said on Friday it "launched the formal process to activate the Blocking Statute by updating the list of USA sanctions on Iran falling within its scope".

In the past week, French company Total has announced that, unless it gets a sanctions waiver from the USA, it will withdraw from the South Pars 11 oil project in Iran.

To view the full article, register now. The goal is to have the measure in force before August 6, 2018, when the first batch of United States sanctions take effect.

The EU executive's announcement is in line with the decision made by heads of state and government at their informal summit in Bulgaria on Thursday in response to the reinstatement of US sanctions related to the withdrawal of the US July 2015 on the Iranian nuclear program, announced on May 8 by Donald Trump.

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Other measures proposed by the Commission, the EU executive, include urging EU governments to make transfers to Iran's central bank and to start the legal process of allowing the European Investment Bank to lend to EU projects in Iran.

"So we have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses", Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in a statement.

The European Union and Iran have launched a vigorous campaign to safeguard the 2015 nuclear deal that the USA has recently ditched by trying to keep Iran's oil and investment flowing.

The Commission also urged national governments to make one-off transfers to Iran's central bank to pay for oil before USA sanctions on transactions take effect.

As the European signatories of the JCPoA, France, Germany and the United Kingdom have repeated their commitment to the deal, and discussed compensatory measures to ensure that USA sanctions do not make the agreement void.

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The European Commission will also "continue and strengthen the ongoing sectoral cooperation with, and assistance to, Iran, including in the energy sector and with regard to small and medium-sized companies".

"The American sanctions will not be without effect".

European companies that invested in Iran after the deal are already taking fright, with French energy giant Total warning it could pull out, and Danish shipping giant Maersk and German insurer Allianz also saying they plan to wind down activities there.

Meanwhile, the commission also stressed Friday that the European Union remains committed to its "essential cooperation" with the U.S., which remains a key partner and ally.

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