EU Vows to Give Its Firms Legal Cover to Operate in Iran

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – EU countries gave European firms legal cover to operate in Iran despite the US pullout from the nuclear deal, after a report that the Trump administration has rejected calls by Brussels for an exemption from sanctions.

The bloc's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday the 28 countries were doing all they could to save the deal but conceded President Donald Trump's administration could still wreck it.

US President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May, and Washington now plans to reimpose sanctions on Tehran next month. The first round of US sanctions on Iran goes into effect in August, followed by ones targeting Iran's oil exports in November.

"Today, the (European) Council has endorsed the update of the blocking statute annex on the nuclear deal with Iran," Mogherini told reporters in Brussels at a meeting with EU foreign ministers, AFP reported.

She said the European Parliament gave its consent to the statute two weeks ago.

The "blocking statute" forbids EU firms from complying with US sanctions, allowing them to recover damages from such penalties and nullifying any foreign court rulings against them.

The EU vowed to fight to preserve the Iran nuclear deal after the US withdrawal, one of many points of US-European contention.

The blocking statute is due to enter force on August 6, when the first set of US sanctions are due. The second set is due November 4, just before US legislative elections.

The move came after the Trump administration rejected an EU call for an exemption from US sanctions on companies operating in Iran.

Mogherini said the EU and other parties were "determined to preserve this deal" she called vital to European, Middle Eastern and global security.

"We will continue to do all we can to try and prevent this deal from being dismantled because we believe the consequences of this would be catastrophic for all."

Yesterday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country has lodged a complaint against the US government at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over new American sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

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