EU takes steps to protect European companies investing in Iran

South Pars a huge offshore natural gas field shared between Iran and Qatar holds around 14 trillion cubic metres of gas

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.

US President Donald Trump announced on May 8 that Washington quit the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which curbed Tehran's nuclear activity in exchange for lifting the UN Security Council's sanctions and unilateral restrictions introduced by the US and the EU.

The European Commission has begun work to implement a law which prohibits European companies from adhering to US sanctions against Iran, a move to help keep the Iran nuclear agreement intact and to defend European corporate interests. The "blocking statute" is a 1996 regulation originally created to get around Washington's trade embargo on Cuba, which prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with specific foreign sanction laws, and says no foreign court judgments based on these laws have any effect in the European Union.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that one reason for the efforts to prop up the Iran deal is "so that our businesses can remain" in Iran.

How have European companies responded?

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"We must act now" - quoted Juncker DW.

Against withdrawal from the agreement made by the leading European Union countries and Russian Federation. It has also facilitated the ability of the European Investment Bank to support investment in small and medium-sized enterprises in Iran. "We have pledged to take necessary political steps for our companies to stay in Iran".

But companies around the world which invested in Iran after sanctions were lifted are now faced with a hard choice as Washington has threatened to punish firms that violate USA sanctions by dealing with Tehran.

Earlier this month, the United States announced its intention to withdraw from the JCPoA, an agreement which prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for greater participation in the global economy.

But the most accurate observations by Macron was that Trump's Iran decision strengthens both Russian Federation and China in the region, something we pointed out weeks ago, begging the question whose interests is Trump representing.

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