EU Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulus has conformed on Wednesday that the EU is fully prepared to pass legislation to block US sanctions targeting Iran. The US has threatened to punish EU-based companies for doing business with Iran, despite the P5+1 nuclear deal, which European nations are a party to, obliging sanctions relief.
Iran has warned that staying in the deal hinges on the remaining signatories ensuring that Iran’s sanctions relief still happens despite the US withdrawing from the pact. Already, two major companies, France’s Total S.A. and Germany’s Siemens, have suggested that barring EU legislation, they’re going to stop deals with Iran out of fear of US retaliation.
Avramopoulos indicated that the legislation being considered by the EU would be straight-forward, outright making it illegal for EU companies to comply with US sanctions on Iran’s nuclear program. Other EU officials have hinted at other measures to support Iran economically.
In 1996, the EU blocked the US for forbidding its companies doing business in Cuba by threatening retaliatory sanctions against the US. In this case, it appears the strategy is going to be to just ban EU companies from complying, though how they’ll protect them from US sanctions still isn’t clear.