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EU to enact ‘blocking regulations’ if US withdraws from Iran deal

A European Union official says the 28-nation bloc could put in place “blocking regulations” to ensure that its companies continue doing business with Iran if the United States pulls out of the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal.

Denis Chaibi, head of the Iranian task force at the EU’s external action service, told the Euromoney Iran Conference 2018 in Paris on Thursday that in case of a US withdrawal, one of the bloc’s options would be to restore “blocking regulations,” which were agreed in 1996 amid Washington’s economic sanctions against Cuba.

“We are looking at a number of possibilities. It is not complicated to do it legally in that the legal instrument exists, but it doesn’t require a huge internal debate,” Chaibi said.
The EU rules “could be revived or put back, but only if it is clear that the US is putting back sanctions with extraterritorial sanctions and that they are being applied. It can’t be done protectively,” he added.

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Iran and the P5+1 countries — namely the US, Russia, China, France, Britain, and Germany — reached the nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in July 2015 and started implementing it in January 2016.

Under the accord, Iran undertook to apply certain limits to its nuclear program in exchange for the termination of all nuclear-related sanctions against Tehran.

US President Donald Trump is opposed to the JCPOA, which was negotiated by his predecessor, Barack Obama, and warned that he might ultimately “terminate” it.

Last month, Trump extended waivers of key economic sanctions on Iran, lifted under the nuclear agreement, for another 120 days but said he was doing so “for the last time.”

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He further called on European allies and US Congress to work with him to “fix the disastrous flaws” in the pact or face a US exit.

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