EU to launch moves to block Trump's Iran sanctions

EU to launch moves to block Trump's Iran sanctions
The European Union will on Friday begin moves to block the pain of US sanctions on Iran.
2 min read
The EU has decided to block US sanctions on Iran [Getty]

The European Union said begin moves on Friday to block the effects felt in the bloc of new US sanctions on Iran, European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker said on Thursday, in a bid to preserve the nuclear deal with Tehran.

"We will begin the 'blocking statute' process, which aims to neutralise the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions in the EU. We must do it and we will do it tomorrow morning at 10:30," Juncker said at a summit in Sofia on Thursday.

The "blocking statute" is a 1996 regulation originally created to get around Washington's trade embargo on Cuba.

It prohibits EU companies and courts from complying with specific foreign sanctions laws and says no foreign court judgements based on these laws will have any effect in the EU.

This comes after US President Donald Trump announced his withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and warned companies that they could face sanctions if they do business with Tehran.

Iran is making preparations to work with other potential customers - including China and Russia - in case European states decide to pull out of Iran.

Iran's oil minister announced that Chinese state-owned oil company CNPC will replace Total on a major gas field project in Iran if the French energy giant pulls out over the renewed sanctions.

"Total has said that if it doesn't get an exemption from the United States to continue its work, it will begin to pull out of the deal," Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted as saying by his ministry's Shananews service. 

"If that happens, the Chinese firm CNPC will replace Total."