New US sanctions would be a significant blow for European companies that actively went to the Iranian market after 2015.
The European Commission has launched Friday the "blocking law", a device for protecting European companies against the sanctions the United States is preparing to reinstate against Iran.
With this option, European companies were forbidden to comply with US sanctions against Iran under threat of punishment.
The statute is a 1996 regulation that forbids companies in the European Union from going along with foreign sanctions.
"We must act now" - quoted Juncker DW.
The Commission also proposes to allow the European Investment Bank (EIB) to facilitate investment by European companies in Iran. As long as the Iranians respect their commitments, the European Union will of course stick to the agreement of which it was an architect - an agreement that was unanimously ratified by the United Nations Security Council and which is essential for preserving peace in the region and the world.
EC will maintain its cooperation with Iran while the US Treasury Department has recently announced to European companies that they have been given a six-month deadline to end their investment in Iran.
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The EU is planning to use a so-called "blocking statute" to keep USA sanctions from impacting European companies.
U.S. sanctions must be reinstated within 90 to 180 days.
The Iran nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, ) signed by Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council - the US, France, Britain, Russia and China - plus Germany on July 14, 2015, imposes strict restrictions on Iran's nuclear program in return for the loosening of economic sanctions.
U.S. individuals and entities are barred from doing business with them following the move.
But companies around the world which invested in Iran after sanctions were lifted are now faced with a hard choice as Washington has threatened to punish firms that violate USA sanctions by dealing with Tehran.
The EU needs to safeguard Iran's economic benefits as well as its own, in order to keep Tehran in the 2015 global nuclear deal and prevent its collapse.
Mr. Trump's Iran decision is part of a broader pattern of actions that have deeply frustrated America's European allies.