EU Blocks US Sanctions Against Iran

Statute forbids EU companies complying with US sanctions

As had been previously reported, the European Commission on Friday enacted their “blocking statute,” which would forbid EU-based companies from complying with US sanctions against Iran. The statute also means EU courts will not recognize international claims related to those sanctions.

French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and British PM Theresa May

The commission aims to set the statute back into effect, but it won’t be formally done until at least 60 days from now. The US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal has a 90-day wind-down period, so theoretically there should be nothing to block until early August at any rate.

EU officials have been negotiating the matter all week, as an attempt to try to save the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran after the US withdrew, and started reimplementing sanctions. EU leaders have agreed that the entire union will work together in protecting the deal.

Two major EU companies, Germany’s Siemens and France’s Total S.A. had previously indicated they’d stop Iran deals for fear of punishment from the US. With the law passed, they now have considerable protection, and would be violating EU law in refusing to do business over US sanction threats.

The US hasn’t yet responded to the move, but officials have indicated they are willing to directly target EU companies who keep trading with Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he expects EU nations to back the US in killing the deal.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.