EU aims to block fresh US sanctions on Iran

BRUSSELS: The European Union vowed on Monday to counter US President Donald Trump’s renewal of sanctions on Iran, in a test of the EU’s ability to preserve a deal that saw Iran limit its nuclear ambitions in exchange for removing curbs on its economy. As Washington’s so-called “snapback” sanctions are reinstated on Tuesday, a new EU law to shield European companies will also take effect to try to mitigate what EU officials say is their “unlawful” reach beyond US borders. Despite protests from European allies, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington would fully enforce the sanctions. EU diplomats said they were awaiting details on how they will be implemented.

The EU and other parties to the 2015 deal, China and Russia, are working to maintain trade with Iran, which has threatened to stop complying with curbs on its nuclear work if it fails to see the economic benefits of relief from sanctions under the deal. “We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the US,” the bloc said in a joint statement with the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain. They pledged to work on preserving financial flows and Iran’s oil and gas exports — a lifeline of its economy. The European officials hope the EU’s so-called blocking statute will mitigate the impact of US sanctions for business, including by deterring US authorities from enforcing some penalties. — AFP