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European firms get EU protection from Trump Iran sanctions

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European firms get EU protection from Trump Iran sanctions

Iran deal

(BRUSSELS) - As the first batch of re-imposed US sanctions on Iran take effect, the EU's updated 'Blocking Statute' entered into force early on 7 August to mitigate their impact on EU companies doing business in Iran.

The updated Blocking Statute is part of the European Union's support for the continued full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear deal, including by sustaining trade and economic relations between the EU and Iran, which were normalised when nuclear-related sanctions were lifted as a result of the JCPOA.

President Trump decided to withdraw the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on 8 May as well as to reinstate all previously lifted sanctions under this agreement.

The process of updating the Blocking Statute was launched by the Commission on 6 June, when it added to its scope the extraterritorial sanctions the US is re-imposing on Iran. A two-month scrutiny period for the European Parliament and the Council followed. Since neither objected, the update will be published in the Official Journal and enter into force on 7 August.

The Blocking Statute allows EU operators to recover damages arising from US extraterritorial sanctions from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorised to do so by the Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union. The authorisations will be done on the basis of agreed criteria which will also be issued on 7 August.

To help EU companies with the implementation of the updated Blocking Statute the Commission will also publish a Guidance note to facilitate understanding of the relevant legal acts.

The European Union isyas it s fully committed to the continued, full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, as long as Iran also respects its nuclear-related commitments. The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions allowing for the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the JCPOA. At the same time, the European Union is also committed to maintaining cooperation with the United States, who remains a key partner and ally.

In addition to the above measure, the EU, in close coordination with Member States and other partners, is working on concrete measures aimed at sustaining the cooperation with Iran in key economic sectors, particularly on banking and finance, trade and investment, oil, and transport.

MEMO Questions and Answers: entry into force of the updated Blocking Statute

Blocking Statute + Updated annex

Guidance note

Implementing Regulation on the criteria


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