The EU revives Cuba law to circumvent US sanctions against Iran

The "blocking statute” will serve to curb the effects of the White House measures against Tehran. EU companies will be able to ignore sanctions and cover costs. Russia and China ready to take advantage of signing billionaire contracts. Washington wants to launch an international "coalition" against "the Iranian regime".

Brussels (AsiaNews / Agencies) - To circumvent the new sanctions against Iran issued by the White House, the European Union (EU) is ready to revive a 1996 law, drafted (but never applied) to counter US sanctions against Cuba .This morning, European experts began working on the so-called "blocking statute", which will apply to the recent measures taken by Washington against the Islamic Republic. It will allow Union companies to ignore sanctions or receive compensation for damages incurred.

Europe continues to move its pawns to keep the JCPOA and business with Teheran alive, in response to US President Donald Trump's decision to cancel the nuclear deal and introduce new sanctions. In recent days, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif went to Brussels, the last stop on a tour that touched Russia and China.

Outlining the provision, EU President Jean-Claude Juncker states that the objective is to "protect EU companies" and "their business". The law, he adds, intends to mitigate the effects of "extra-territorial" sanctions that have an "impact" on the EU. After all, last year alone European exports to Iran reached 10.8 billion euros. Imports from the Islamic Republic have slightly exceeded 10 billion (10.1), with a figure that almost doubled compared to 2016 data.

The fear is that the new US sanctions will jeopardize billions of dollars and open the doors of trade to China and Russia, ready to take advantage of it. Yesterday in Astana, Kazakhstan, the Iranian representative signed an interim agreement aimed at free trade between Tehran and the countries of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), led by Moscow. It allows Iran to buy goods and products from member countries at a reduced price.

Beijing, for its part, moves from behind the scenes to replace the French oil giant Total - present in Iran with billion dollar contracts - with a Chinese state company (CNPC). China - always hungry for hydrocarbons and Iran's first commercial partner - is looking with increasing interest to Iran, clarifying in a note that it will continue "the normal and transparent" collaboration with Iran in spite of US sanctions.

In this situation of increasing head-on collision on the Iranian dossier (on the one hand the United States, Israel and Arab nations against the EU, Russia, China and Turkey) the White House responded announcing the project of an "international coalition" against "the Tehran regime " . In the coming days, the head of the US Diplomacy Mike Pompeo will explain the details of the initiative, which wants to show the world "all destabilizing activities" of Iran.