EU’s prime effort to protect the bloc’s investments in Iran

EU’s prime effort to protect the bloc’s investments in Iran

Shielding its strategic and economic interests in Iran is the European Union’s top priority, in an effort to minimise risks stemming from U.S. sanctions on Iran.

After an EU Foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels, on Monday, the bloc’s Foreign policy chief Frederica Mogherini said that the member states working together closely and intensely “to protect the economic investments of European businesses that have legitimately invested and engaged in Iran” – over the past three years since the nuclear deal was agreed, AP noted.

All this, in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from the international nuclear deal. To a great extent, that pact would safeguard that Tehran would not develop a nuclear bomb. However, Washington pulled out of it in early May, expressing its intentions to impose tougher sanctions in Iran. If so, numerous European businesses that have invested in the country would be financially damaged.

Mogherinin stressed the “unquestioned” unity of the member states and downplayed Poland’s reaction, which according to media reports, “friction between Poland and the rest of the EU over how to deal with U.S. President Donald Trump and his hard-line stance toward Tehran” does exist. Indeed, the Polish Foreign minister Jacek Czaputowicz had said earlier that Poland disagrees with any EU actions “that would weaken U.S. sanctions”.

The Union’s authorities believe in the capacities of the deal and the good it can offer to all players involved. As a matter of fact, Europe’s powers continue to see this pact as the best medium that could “keep Tehran from developing a nuclear bomb.”

U.S. President Trump with a signed Presidential Memorandum regarding the Iran nuclear deal 

“For us, this is not about an economic interest. It is about a security interest,” Mogherini underlined, adding that “the first concern we share is one related to the possibility for Iran to develop a nuclear weapon”.

Energy is of major concern to the European leaders thus, the competent commissioner will be in Iran for relevant talks. Moreover, the European Investment Bank (EIB) might be okayed by the Union authorities to help entrepreneurial investments to be made in Iran.

Countermeasure – 1996 Blocking Regulation Against U.S. Sanctions on Iran

The EU is considering reactivating the a 1996 trade defense law in response to the US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on Iran’s nuclear programme.

“Once reactivated, this law (the EU Blocking Regulation) would seek to prevent European companies from complying with any sanctions the US may reintroduce against Iran”, reads.

The European Commission’s response on May 18

“Following the green light of EU leaders at the informal meeting in Sofia, 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 President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker said: “In Sofia, we saw a show of European unity. As long as the Iranians respect their commitments, the EU will of course stick to the agreement of which it was an architect – an agreement that was unanimously ratified by the United Nations Security Council and which is essential for preserving peace in the region and the world. But the American sanctions will not be without effect. 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 Union is fully committed to the continued, full and effective implementation of the Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA), so long as Iran also respects its obligations. The announcement by the United States that it is withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal and its decision to reinstate sanctions has the potential to have a negative impact on European companies which have invested in Iran in good faith since the deal was signed. The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the JCPOA. The European Union is committed to mitigating the impact of US sanctions on European businesses and taking steps to maintain the growth of trade and economic relations between the EU and Iran that began when sanctions were lifted. This can only be acheived by a combination of measures taken at national and European level.

The European Union is also committed to maintaining the essential cooperation that exists with the United States in many areas. The United States remain a key partner and ally.”…. / IBNA

Main Photo: Federica Mogherini (centre) in Brussels