EU Launches Measures To Preserve Iran Nuclear Deal

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In the past week, French company Total has announced that, unless it gets a sanctions waiver from the United States, it will withdraw from the South Pars 11 oil project in Iran.

In a statement, the Commission said it had "launched the formal procedure to activate the "Blocking Statute" by updating the list of U.S. sanctions against Iran falling within its scope". "So we have the duty, the Commission and the European Union, to do what we can to protect our European businesses, especially SMEs".

The European Commission began work Friday on a series of measures to shield European companies investing in Iran and support Tehran's economy, in the hope of salvaging the Iran nuclear deal following the USA decision to withdraw.

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The European Parliament and the Council of the EU will decide to approve or reject the proposals within two months, ahead of the first batch of USA sanctions taking effect on August 6. The aim is to have the measure in force before 6 August 2018, when the first batch of United States sanctions take effect. By re-introducing it now, the European Union is seeking to ban firms respecting U.S. sanctions and make related USA court rulings non-effective in the EU.

"But the American sanctions will not be without effect".

"Following the green light of EU leaders at the informal meeting in Sofia (the EU-Western Balkans summit on May 16-17), the European Commission has today taken steps to preserve the interests of European companies investing in Iran and demonstrate the EU's commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the Iran nuclear deal", the document said.

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

In recent days, several European companies have announced their intention to wind down business in Iran, raising questions about how much the EU can deliver on its promises.

In addition, Jean-Claude Juncker noted that EU leaders had "also made a decision to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran" and that the European Commission would continue to cooperate with Iran.

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In a Friday statement, the Commission also said it "will continue and strengthen the ongoing sectoral cooperation with, and assistance to, Iran, including in the energy sector and with regard to small and medium-sized companies".

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