EU to reactivate 'blocking statute' against US sanctions on Iran for European firms

European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker announced Thursday that the bloc plans to reactivate a law that would seek to shield European companies from any sanctions the US reintroduces against Iran.
Juncker's announcement came during the second day of an EU reunion in the Bulgarian capital, Sofia, that had already been marked by sharp criticism from European leaders over American President Donald Trump's decision to pull the US out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
What Juncker said:
  • In Thursday's announcement, Juncker said: "As the European Commission we have the duty to protect European companies. We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process of to activate the 'blocking statute' from 1996."
  • Juncker said that the law would be launched Friday morning at 10:30 a.m. local time.
  • He added that European leaders "also decided to allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies' investment in Iran" and said the Commission would continue to cooperate with Iran.



.@JunckerEU “Need to protect our companies, notably SMEs. @EU_Commission will start work tomorrow on amending the Blocking Statute to include US Iran sanctions. Aim is to get it in place before sanctions kick in on 6 August. We need to do it and we will do it.”
What is the 1996 blocking statute?
  •  A blocking statue is a law enacted in a local jurisdiction that attempts to hinder application of a law made by a foreign jurisdiction.
  • The 1996 legislation protects "against the effects of the extra-territorial application of legislation adopted by a third country."
  • It was originally developed to get around US trade embargo on Cuba though it was never enacted because the trade disagreement was settled politically.
  • In its current application, the law would attempt to shield European companies that do business with Iran from future US sanctions by prohibiting any compliance. It also would now recognize any court rulings that enforce the American-issued penalties.
Will effect could the blocking statute have?
The law's potential economic effect remains unknown, since it was never tested out over the Cuban emargo. However, it was designed as and could again be a valuable political bargaining chip for European leaders to use against Washington.
Additionally, much depends on how European companies react.
German-headquartered insurance firm Allianz and Danish shopping company Maersk have already said they plan to close operations in Iran in order to avoid getting hit by reintroduced US sanctions.



wants to stand up against and circumvent possible sanctions against EU companies. Will that impress Trump? Companies like Total and Maersk already chicken out
What was the Iran nuclear deal? 
The 2015 Iran nuclear deal was a pact negotiated by Iran, China, Russia, Germany, France and Britian, as well as the EU and the US that authorized the lifting of economic sanctions against Tehran in exchange for the dismantling of its nuclear program and compliance with international atomic regulations.