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    EU Firms Free to Decide on Activities in Iran Amid US Sanctions - EU Commission

    © AFP 2019 / GEORGES GOBET
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    BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - EU companies are free to choose whether or not to continue working in Iran after the United States reinstates its sanctions on Iran, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said on Wednesday, adding that the bloc had launched the Blocking Statue with the specific purpose of protecting EU businesses in this regard.

    "According to the EU Blocking Statute, EU operators are free to conduct their business as they see fit in accordance with the EU law and national applicable laws. This means that they are free to choose whether to start working, continue or seize business operations in Iran, and whether or not to engage in the economic sector on the basis of their assessment of the economic situation. The purpose of the EU Blocking Statute is exactly to ensure that such business decisions remain free," Andreeva said at a press briefing, adding that the European Union did not recognize the extraterritorial application of the US sanctions.

    READ MORE: EU Firms Likely to Cut Ties With Iran Despite Bloc's Bids to Thwart US Sanctions

    According to Andreeva, the statute aims at nullifying any effect the sanctions may have for EU entities choosing to continue doing business in Iran. They do not have to seek the European Commission's authorization for either staying in Iran or leaving since the commission was not sanctioning any "free business decision."

    The comments come after the first batch of US sanctions against Iran, previously lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal, came back into effect early on Tuesday under an executive order signed by US President Donald Trump.

    In May, Trump announced that the United States would withdraw from the landmark Iran nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran that were lifted under the agreement. The European Union responded to Trump's move by activating the EU Blocking Statute that exempts the EU companies doing legitimate business in Iran from complying with the US restrictions.


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