Iran nuclear deal: European Union looks to avoid impact of U.S. sanctions

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The commission has launched a process to activate the Blocking Statute, which forbids European Union companies from complying with extraterritorial effects of United States sanctions and allows them to recover damages arising from such sanctions.

"It's the duty of the EU to protect European business and that applies in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises", he told a news conference following a summit of EU leaders in Bulgaria on Thursday.

US President Donald Trump last week controversially pulled Washington out of the 2015 worldwide deal with Iran that placed limits on its nuclear program in return for easing economic sanctions.

The European Commission has begun work to implement a law which prohibits European companies from adhering to USA sanctions against Iran, a move to help keep the Iran nuclear agreement intact and to defend European corporate interests.

European Union officials say they are revamping the blocking statute to encompass Trump's May 8 decision to revive Iran-related sanctions. "We will have to see whether those remaining in the JCPOA can deliver those benefits to Iran", he said in the Belgian capital on Tuesday.

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

Farage Offers Words Of Wisdom To EU's Tusk After Trump Outburst
Tusk's comments underscore the rift between the trans-Atlantic allies since Trump came to power on a platform of "America First". Merkel however said that Europe had no choice but to stick with the ties that have bound it to Washington since World War II.

They will only into force if they are signed-off by the European Parliament and European Council within the next two months, but that is likely to happen before the U.S. sanctions take effect on August 6.

EC will maintain its cooperation with Iran while the US Treasury Department has recently announced to European companies that they have been given a six-month deadline to end their investment in Iran.

Additional efforts will encourage European companies to pay money to Iran through transfers with the Central Bank of Iran, and will mobilise financial assistance through the Development Co-operation or Partnership Instrument, to increase ongoing sectoral co-operation.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday that it might be possible to compensate small and medium-sized firms, but not all businesses, from USA sanctions.

The measure represents the first practical step towards saving the Iran nuclear deal taken by the EU.

In pulling out, Trump complained the nuclear deal does nothing to stop Iran's ballistic missile program or its interference in conflicts across the Middle East from Syria to Yemen.