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    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker gestures during a plenary session of European Economic and Social Committee at the EU Charlemagne building in Brussels on Thursday, Sept. 22, 2016.

    Enough is Enough: EU to Block US Sanctions on Iran to Protect European Firms

    © AP Photo / Geert Vanden Wijngaert
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    US President Donald Trump’s decision to walk away from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran has raised serious concerns and worries among America’s European allies.

    In a clear response to the US move, EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has announced that the bloc plans to apply a 1996 law that would prohibit European companies from complying with any sanctions the US will reintroduce against Tehran, Deutsche Welle reported.

    "As the European Commission we have the duty to protect European companies. We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process to activate the 'blocking statute' from 1996," Juncker said during Thursday’s meeting of EU foreign ministers in Sofia, Bulgaria.

    He added that the law would be launched Friday morning.

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

    Blocking Statute

    A blocking statute is a law enacted in a local jurisdiction that attempts to hinder the application of a law made by a foreign jurisdiction and is widely seen as an attempt to put pressure on Washington not to punish European firms that continue doing business with Iran.

    The other signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran have pledged to stick to its terms and urged Tehran to do the same.

    During their meeting with their Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif earlier this week, EU foreign ministers discussed how best to keep the nuclear agreement alive without the US.

    The Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA,) signed by Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council – the US, France, Britain, Russia and China – plus Germany on July 14, 2015, imposes strict restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in return for the loosening of economic sanctions.

    READ MORE: Energy Analyst Gives 6 Reasons Why EU Will Resist Folding to US Pressure on Iran

    President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened to pull out of the JCPOA unless Congress and America's European allies "fix" it with a follow-up accord.

    Iran has always denied it sought a nuclear weapon and accuses Israel of stirring up the world’s suspicions against it.

    Related:

    Unpredictable US Policies Threaten Austrian, EU Economic Interests - Kurz
    Energy Analyst Gives 6 Reasons Why EU Will Resist Folding to US Pressure on Iran
    EU May Use EIB to Help European Companies in Iran Amid US Sanctions - Belgian PM
    Tags:
    European firms, Iran nuclear deal, US sanctions, response, EU, Mohammed Javad Zarif, Donald Trump, Jean-Claude Juncker, Europe
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