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EU moves to block US sanctions on Iran

BRUSSLES: The European Commission will launch the process of activating a law that bans European companies and courts from complying with US sanctions against Iran after Washington pulled out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.
Jean Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, said on Thursday the commission has a “duty to protect European companies” from American sanctions.
“We now need to act, and this is why we are launching the process to activate the ‘blocking statute’ from 1996. We will do that tomorrow [Friday] morning at 10:30,” he told a news conference in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, after a meeting of European Union leaders.
The EU wants to salvage the nuclear deal, and its blocking statute is the most powerful tool at its immediate disposal, as it means EU companies won’t have to comply with US sanctions.
It also does not recognise any court rulings that enforce American penalties.
Juncker’s announcement comes after US President Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the international deal with Iran, which placed limits on Tehran’s nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief.
The UK, France, Germany, China and Russia were signatories of the 2015 pact and have opposed the US pullout.
But companies around the world now face a difficult choice as Washington has threatened to punish firms that violate US sanctions by dealing with Iran.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, said Tehran would remain committed to the deal, provided the deal’s remaining signatories ensure Iran was protected from sanctions.

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