The European Commission received the unanimous backing of EU heads of government to proceed with proposals made by commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and High Representative Federica Mogherini, which aim to protect European companies investing in Iran through action on four fronts.
The European Commission on Friday proposed activating a dormant statute to shield European firms doing business with Iran from renewed USA sanctions.
The EU's blocking statute bans any EU company from complying with USA sanctions and does not recognise any court rulings that enforce American penalties.
Macron also said that the nuclear deal with Iran must not only be preserved, but also supplemented and expanded to include ways to solve the missile problem and questions about Iran's role in the region.
The US position is at odds with that of France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which say they are committed to the agreement and to expanding trade with 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.
The so-called "blocking statute" was introduced in 1996 to circumvent USA sanctions on Cuba but was never used.
And now that Europe has openly rebelled against Trump's sanctions, one wonders how long before the selling in oil resumes, as it is becoming increasingly clear that unlike 2012, Europe - and most of Asia - will continue buying Iranian oil, suggesting that the decline, if any, in Iranian exports will be a few hundred thousands barrels at most, a number which we expect will shrink to 0 as Iran offers increasingly preferential prices to its non-USD paying clients, especially now that Asian oil demand is soaring.
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"As the European Commission we have the duty to protect European companies".
The step comes after Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Brussels and met with his British, French and German counterparts to discuss the future of the nuclear deal without the US.
In recent days, several European companies have announced their intention to wind down business in Iran, raising questions about how much the EU can deliver on its promises.
Some of Europe's biggest firms had rushed to do business with Iran after the nuclear deal took effect.
EU President Donald Tusk renewed attacks on him.
United States individuals and entities are barred from doing business with them following the move.
Mr. Trump's Iran decision is part of a broader pattern of actions that have deeply frustrated America's European allies.