Part 3: World Reacts to U.S. Sanctions

August 6, 2018
Updated

On August 6, the E.U., French, German, and U.K. foreign ministers expressed their determination to “protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran”  — despite the reimposition of U.S. sanctions. In a statement, the leaders also reiterated their support for the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security,” they said. The full text is below with reactions by other world leaders. 

 

E.U. High Representative Federica Mogherini and Foreign Ministers of E3 (Jean-Yves Le Drian of France, Heiko Maas of Germany and U.K. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt)

We deeply regret the re-imposition of sanctions by the US, due to the latter’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

The JCPOA is working and delivering on its goal, namely to ensure that the Iranian programme remains exclusively peaceful, as confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 11 consecutive reports. It is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world. We expect Iran to continue to fully implement all its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.

The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the deal – it aims at having a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people. We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council resolution 2231. This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.

The remaining parties to the JCPOA have committed to work on, inter alia, the preservation and maintenance of effective financial channels with Iran, and the continuation of Iran’s export of oil and gas. On these, as on other topics, our work continues, including with third countries interested in supporting the JCPOA and maintaining economic relations with Iran. These efforts will be intensified and reviewed at Ministerial level in the coming weeks.

Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security.

—Aug. 6, 2018, in a joint statement

 

European Union

E.U. High Representative Federica Mogherini

 

“This legislation [the Blocking Statute] in Europe protects European businesses from the effects of the US sanctions, indicating to companies that they should comply with European legislation rather than with the American one.”

“We believe that it is and has to be up to the Europeans in this case to decide with whom to trade. So there is also a matter of - I would say - trade sovereignty to be protected.”

“[W]e are encouraging Small and Medium Sized Enterprises in particular to increase business with and in Iran as part of something that for us is a security priority.”

“I want to make this very clear: we are talking about trade and economic relations with Iran, because this is integral part of the nuclear deal.”

“This second pillar has to be maintained if we want the first pillar to be maintained.”

—Aug. 7, 2018 in a press conference with New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters

 

Press Release on the Updated Blocking Statute

As the first batch of re-imposed US sanctions on Iran takes effect, the EU's updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to mitigate their impact on the interests of EU companies doing legitimate business in Iran.

The updated Blocking Statute is part of the European Union's support for the continued full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear deal, including by sustaining trade and economic relations between the EU and Iran, which were normalised when nuclear-related sanctions were lifted as a result of the JCPOA.

The process of updating the Blocking Statute was launched by the Commission on 6 June 2018, when it added to its scope the extraterritorial sanctions the US is re-imposing on Iran. A two-month scrutiny period for the European Parliament and the Council followed. Since neither objected, the update will be published in the Official Journal and enter into force on 7 August.

More on the Blocking Statute

The Blocking Statute allows EU operators to recover damages arising from US extraterritorial sanctions from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorised to do so by the Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union. The authorisations will be done on the basis of agreed criteria which will also be issued on 7 August.

To help EU companies with the implementation of the updated Blocking Statute the Commission will also publish a Guidance note to facilitate understanding of the relevant legal acts.

Next steps

The European Union is fully committed to the continued, full and effective implementation of the JCPOA, as long as Iran also respects its nuclear-related commitments. The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions allowing for the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran constitute essential parts of the JCPOA. At the same time, the European Union is also committed to maintaining cooperation with the United States, who remains a key partner and ally.

In addition to the above measure, the EU, in close coordination with Member States and other partners, is working on concrete measures aimed at sustaining the cooperation with Iran in key economic sectors, particularly on banking and finance, trade and investment, oil, and transport.

Background

On 8 May, President Trump decided to withdraw the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and to reinstate all previously lifted sanctions under this agreement. The re-imposed US sanctions will come into effect after a “wind-down” period of 90 days (ending 6 August 2018) for certain sanctions and 180 days (ending 4 November 2018) for others.

On 18 May, the Commission initiated several steps to preserve the interests of European companies investing in Iran and to enable the EIB to finance activities in Iran, demonstrating the EU's commitment to the JCPOA.

On 6 June, the European Commission adopted the updates of the Blocking Statute and of the EIB's External Lending Mandate, which enter into force on 7 August following the two-month non objection period.

On 6 July, a meeting of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA, convening the EU, E3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom), Russia, China and Iran, took place in Vienna at ministerial level and was chaired by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini. All remaining parties to the deal reiterated their commitment to the full and continued implementation of the nuclear deal. They supported recent efforts to maintain the normalisation of trade and economic relations with Iran and also noted EU's efforts to update the Blocking Statute to protect EU companies.

Click here for more information about the Blocking Statute

 

Germany

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas

“We still think that it is a mistake to give up on the nuclear accord with Iran.”

“We are fighting for the deal because it also serves our purpose by bringing about security and transparency in the region.”

“[A]nyone who's hoping for regime change must not forget that whatever follows could bring us much bigger problems.”

“Isolating Iran could boost radical and fundamentalist forces.”

“[C]haos in Iran, as we have experienced in Iraq or Libya, would further destabilize an already troubled region.”

—Aug. 8, 2018, in an interview with Passauer Neue Presse

 

United Kingdom

British Minister of State for the Middle East Alistair Burt

“As far as a disagreement with President Trump on this is concerned, they can certainly expect the United Kingdom to do this. People talk about a partnership between us which is very real, but a good partnership between friends requires us to take a stand when we think it’s important to do so. We think on this the U.S. has got it wrong.”

“But the important thing here I think, and we shouldn’t move away from this, is the importance of the agreement itself. This was something negotiated after a long period of time to make sure Iran did not pursue a nuclear path. That remains important, and one partner pulling out of this doesn’t help that situation at all. That’s why we think the Americans really have not got this right.”

—Aug. 7, 2018, to BBC Radio

 

Russia

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

“We are confident that the JCPOA is solid enough. Participants in the deal are capable of overcoming the emerging difficulties. We reaffirm our commitment to the JCPOA."

"We have been taking measures at the national level in order to defend trade and economic cooperation with Iran. We also continue working with other responsible participants in the JCPOA in developing collective decisions aimed at accomplishing the tasks of maintaining and boosting international trade and financial cooperation with Iran, set by the foreign ministers of the parties in a statement adopted at the July 6 meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission. We believe that this work is in line with the interests of the entire international community."

"We have been taking measures at the national level in order to defend trade and economic cooperation with Iran. We also continue working with other responsible participants in the JCPOA in developing collective decisions aimed at accomplishing the tasks of maintaining and boosting international trade and financial cooperation with Iran, set by the foreign ministers of the parties in a statement adopted at the July 6 meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission. We believe that this work is in line with the interests of the entire international community."

"The verification and control measures that the Plan stipulates are fully applicable, which in itself is a reliable evidence of the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program."

"We are deeply disappointed with the United States’ steps to restore its national sanctions against Iran.” 

“The introduction of the first round of US restrictions is aimed at undermining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) Washington pulled out of on May 8."

"This is a striking example of Washington’s violations of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 and international law."

"The international community should not let important achievements of multilateral diplomacy be sacrificed to Washington’s desire to settle political scores with Iran in matters that have nothing to do with the JCPOA.” 

"Years of experience show that it is impossible to pressure Iran for concessions."

—Aug. 7, 2018, in a statement

 

Israel

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

 

 

“This decision represents the determination to curb Iran’s aggression in the region and its ongoing intention to arm itself with nuclear weapons.”

“I call upon the countries of Europe, which talk about stopping Iran, to join this measure. The time has come to stop talking and to take action, and that is exactly what the U.S. has done and what Europe should do.”

—Aug. 6, 2018, in a statement

 

 

Updated