BRUSSELS, Aug. 6 (Xinhua/GNA) - The European Union (EU)'s updated Blocking Statute will enter into force Tuesday as a countermeasure to Washington's re-imposed sanctions against Iran, the European Commission announced it on its website on Monday.
The statute, introduced in 1996 in response to U.S. extra-territorial sanctions legislation, was amended on June 6 by adding within its scope the list of extra-territorial U.S. sanctions on Iran. As neither the Council of the EU nor the European Parliament voiced their objection to the amendment in the two-month scrutiny period, the statute will kick in as of Tuesday, one day after the United States resumes its first batch of sanctions against Iran. The statute forbids EU residents and companies from complying with the listed U.S. extra-territorial sanctions legislation unless they are exceptionally authorized to do so by the Commission. The statute also allows EU companies to "recover damages arising from such legislation from the persons or entities causing them, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on it."
According to the statute, EU operators can recover any damages, including legal costs. To claim compensation, EU operators can bring the case before the courts of EU member states. The recovery can take the form of seizure and sale of the assets of the person causing the damage, its representatives or intermediaries.EU Foreign Policy chief Federica Mogherini, who is currently on an official trip to Asia, issued a joint statement Monday with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany, saying they "are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran. ”Stating that the Iranian nuclear agreement, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is working and delivering on its goal, they stressed that the deal "is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region and the entire world." "This is why the European Union's updated Blocking Statute enters into force on Aug. 7 to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of U.S. extra-territorial sanctions," the officials said.
After its withdrawal from the JCPOA in May, Washington has been trying to bring sanctions back on Iran with the aim of blocking Iran's international financial transactions and reducing its oil exports to zero. Under the JCPOA, Iran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions. The first U.S. sanctions are back on Aug. 6. They include sanctions on Iran's automotive sector, trade in gold, and other key metals. The remaining sanctions will return on Nov. 4, targeting Iran's energy sector, petroleum-related transactions, and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran. Since U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal, European countries have been scrambling to ensure that Iran would get enough economic benefits to persuade it to stay in the deal.
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