Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Europe hardens vs Trump with United States on trade and Iran

EU vows to block blow of US Iran sanctions EU vows to block blow of US Iran sanctions
Deanna Wagner | 18 May, 2018, 19:03

Iranian state TV has reported the country has signed an agreement with a British consortium to develop an oil field, just as another major company, France's Total, says it will withdraw from Iran because of renewed USA sanctions.

On Thursday, it published a draft law that will allow it to impose 25 percent tariffs on U.S imports after June 20, and import duties of up to 50 percent after March 23, 2021. We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process of to activate the "blocking statute" from 1996. "The Commission itself will maintain its cooperation will Iran".

John Bolton, Trump's newly installed National Security Advisor, said that "the Europeans will see that it's in their interests to come along with us" rather than continue with the 2015 deal, under which major European corporations have signed billions of dollars of contracts in Iran.

French President Emmanuel Macron gives a news conference at the EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia, Bulgaria, on Thursday.

European Council President Donald Tusk criticised USA president Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Iran deal and imposing steel and aluminium tariffs on the EU, citing the "capricious assertiveness of the United States administration", Politico reports. "The hardliners in Iran were the most opposed to this accord".

Meanwhile, the head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation called on the European signatories to make up for the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement.

French energy giant, Total, warned on Wednesday it would pull out of a multibillion-dollar project to develop the vast South Pars gas field, which started in July 2017, unless it is granted a waiver by United States authorities.

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"Which company is going to risk access to the U.S. market, which is 100 times larger", Ardavan Amir-Alsani, a Paris-based lawyer who specialises in Iran, said in an interview.

During a visit by Zarif to Brussels on Tuesday (15/05), European powers vowed to keep the 2015 nuclear deal alive without the United States by trying to keep Iran's oil and investment flowing, but admitted they would struggle to provide the guarantees Tehran seeks.

Commenting on the decision of French oil and gas group Total to stop a multibillion-dollar project in Iran unless it is granted a waiver by USA authorities, Macron said he wants to provide all guarantees for businesses that want to stay in Iran to be able to do so.

Blocking regulations would make it illegal for European Union companies to comply with the enforcement of US secondary sanctions on Iran.

"Frankly the European Union, outside of China and a couple of others, treats us on trade as badly as you can be treated".

Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, Washington's Middle Eastern allies, are the countries supporting Donald Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.