EU Unites on Iran With Moves to Counter Sanctions

EU Unites on Iran With Moves to Counter Sanctions

The EU states intend to ensure the presence of their companies in Iran despite the U.S. withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday.

Ahead of the meeting, the European Union chairman, the namesake of the U.S. president, Donald Tusk said the EU must unite to deal with what he called Trump's "capricious assertiveness".

The Trump administration made a decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and is threatening to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from the EU.

"It's the duty of the EU to protect European business and that applies in particular to small and medium-sized enterprises", he told a news conference following a summit of EU leaders in Bulgaria on Thursday. "We are in a world where geopolitics are dominating the market again", Patrick Pouyanne said at an event at a Washington think-tank.

"The French president is not the CEO of Total", Macron said. The statue will be the first concrete step the European Union will take in response to the USA withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. While Juncker stressed that the USA imposed protectionist measures can not be justified on grounds of national security.

As Macron spoke in Sofia, the world's largest container shipping firm, A.P. Moller-Maersk, said it would quit Iran.

He said the latest decisions by Trump are counter-productive.

Still, EU leaders put on a courageous face, sticking by the Iran accord despite their weak hand in defying the will of the country that issues the dollar, the dominant currency of global trade.

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The so-called "allies", who were part of negotiating and striking the agreement among the P5+1 group of countries - the five permanent members of the UN Security Council (China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States) plus Germany - were completely excluded as Trump unilaterally took his decision and has threatened European countries and companies with punitive measures in the event of non-compliance with his "orders".

But the European Union will have to swim against a strong tide.

But companies around the world which invested in Iran after sanctions were lifted are now faced with a hard choice as Washington has threatened to punish firms that violate USA sanctions by dealing with Tehran.

Europe's "blocking statute" has never been used until now and its rules are vague and hard to enforce.

Macron said he was convinced that the USA decision will benefit Russian and Chinese companies in Iran.

Finnish mining technology company Outotec said USA sanctions would slow down and complicate its ties with Iran but it was too early to say if it would leave.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on May 16 that Tehran will not bow to US pressure.

The French-led effort could aid New Delhi, which is concerned the sanctions will not only hurt crude oil imports from Iran but also undermine the fledgeling Chabahar port project.

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