European Commission decides to blocs USA sanctions against Iran on its territory

Protesters stand outside the White House in Washington DC on May 8 as US President Donald Trump announces the United State's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal

Europe to exempt its firms from US sanctions on Iran

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump opted to withdraw the U.S. from a joint nuclear agreement with Iran, and chose to reinstate all sanctions that had previously been imposed on Iran, but were waived when the deal was signed in 2015.

The European Union took formal steps Friday to shield its firms from United States sanctions on Iran as part of efforts to save the worldwide nuclear deal with Tehran.

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.

European Council President Donald Tusk said EU leaders had agreed to give the Commission the green light to act whenever European interests were affected.

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

The European Union tries to save the Iran nuclear deal and protect EU companies investing in the country by launching a process to activate its blocking statute that bans any EU company from complying with US sanctions and does not recognize court rulings that enforce USA penalties.

The European Commission received the unanimous backing of EU heads of government to proceed with proposals made by commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative Federica Mogherini, which aim to protect European companies investing in Iran through action on four fronts.

As the world seeks to come to grips with President Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA, it appears that the European Union will play one of its strongest cards by invoking its "Blocking Regulation", which would prohibit European companies from complying with USA sanctions against Iran.

In the same year, European Union investment in Iran was valued at €20bn.

The European Commissioner for Energy, Miguel Arias Canete, is expected on Friday in Tehran, where he will meet for three days with Iranian officials.

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

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.

The approach, it said, could ensure Tehran receives its oil-related revenues if USA sanctions target European Union firms active in oil transactions with Iran.

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