EU Unites on Iran With Moves to Counter Sanctions

South Pars a huge offshore natural gas field shared between Iran and Qatar holds around 14 trillion cubic metres of gas

The EU executive said on Friday 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 Commission said in a statement it had "launched the formal process to activate the Blocking Statute by updating the list of USA sanctions on Iran falling within its scope", referring to an original European Union regulation from 1996.

Following the lifting of sanctions imposed on Iran in 2016 caused by the implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), many European companies flocked to Iran for clinching several billion-euro worth of deal and seized this opportunity to play an active role in Iran's energy sector, he concluded.

Dalia Grybauskaite, the president of Lithuania, noted that Europe does not want a trade war with the United States over the Iran deal.

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French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that one reason for the efforts to prop up the Iran deal is "so that our businesses can remain" in Iran. The first step was to activate the "blocking statute" that "forbids European Union companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of USA sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the European Union of any foreign court judgements based on them", the document says.

The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: "In Sofia, we saw a show of European unity".

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.

Following our discussion of Europe's angry response to Trump's unilateral Iran sanctions, in which European Union budget commissioner, Guenther Oettinger made it clear that Europe will not be viewed as a vassal state of the USA, stating that "Trump despises weaklings".

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Why is the U.S. imposing sanctions on Iran?

It comes after the US President pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord and gave businesses around the world notice to end their dealings with Tehran.

Some of Europe's biggest firms had rushed to do business with Iran after the nuclear deal took effect.

What was the reaction to Trump's decision?

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