Europe to exempt its firms from U.S. sanctions on Iran

Europe to exempt its firms from US sanctions on Iran

Juncker said the commission will begin the process of activating a so-called blocking statute, which bans European Union companies from observing the sanctions and any court rulings that enforce US penalties.

"US sanctions will not be without effect, so it is our duty, in the Commission and in the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs", said Friday. the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker.

EU leaders meeting Thursday in Bulgaria gave the European Commmission, the bloc's executive arm, the all-clear amid a deepening rift with Washington.

We also chose to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran.

The European Commission is activating the Blocking Regulation that was adopted in 1996 largely as a countermeasure to the USA sanctions against Cuba and Iran.

A blocking statute is a law enacted in a local jurisdiction that attempts to hinder the application of a law made by a foreign jurisdiction and is widely seen as an attempt to put pressure on Washington not to punish European firms that continue doing business with Iran.

Some will come into effect by early August, with other sanctions coming into force by the beginning of November.

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Tehran has warned it is ready to resume no-holds-barred "industrial-scale" uranium enrichment unless Europe can provide solid guarantees to preserve Iran's economic benefits under the deal.

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".

European investments in Iran, mainly from Germany, France, and Italy, have jumped by more than 20 billion euros since 2016.

And, in a bid to reassure the Iranian government of the EU's political commitment to saving the nuclear deal, Energy Commissioner Miguel Canete is visiting Tehran this weekend.

The European Commission is also encouraging member-states to "explore the possibility of one-off bank transfers to the Central Bank of Iran".

The US Treasury has said it is giving European companies three to six months to wind down their business in Iran or face sanctions as well.

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