Sunday, 24 March 2019

EU to block US sanctions against Iran to protect European companies

BRUSSELS : Europe’s top diplomats have vowed to work together to preserve a multinational nuclear deal with Iran, as US President Donald Trump signed an executive order paving the way for the return of biting sanctions against Tehran on Tuesday.

In a joint statement issued on Monday, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini and the foreign ministers of France, Germany and Britain said the remaining parties to the 2015 agreement will maintain “effective financial channels” with Iran and ensure its continued export of oil and gas.

“We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the US, due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” the statement said, referring to Trump’s decision in May.

“Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security,” the statement added.

In a statement on Monday, the White House said the first round of sanctions will be reimposed on August 7, followed by a second one on November 5.

“President Trump will continue to stand up to the Iranian regime’s aggression, and the United States will fully enforce the reimposed sanctions,” it said.

It warned that those who “fail” to abide by the US sanctions against Iran will “risk severe consequences”.

The White House maintained that the deal was “defective at its core” and failed to guarantee the safety of the United States.

The joint statement from the European diplomats, however, said that the nuclear agreement “is working and delivering on its goal”, adding that UN nuclear inspectors have confirmed in “11 consecutive reports” that Tehran is adhering to its part of the bargain.

“It is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world,” said the statement, which apart of Mogherini was also signed by French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and the UK’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

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