'Stay tuned' for EU response to US sanctions on Iran

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By Shona Murray
'Stay tuned' for EU response to US sanctions on Iran

The EU has said observers should “stay tuned” in relation to how it will react to the Trump administration’s decision to reimpose sanctions against Iran.

A European Commission spokesperson refused to comment saying “There are many different issues, I would not like to advance considerations etc. before events unfold.”

The EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini issued a public statement last Friday saying the EU ‘regretted’ the decision by the US to reinstate the full panoply of sanctions removed from Iran in 2015, when the Iran nuclear deal was first entered in to.

At the daily press briefing in Brussels today, the spokesperson said “I won’t go in to further details”

“Doesn’t make sense for us to go further”, but “this is a stay tuned moment.”

The EU is working on the creation of a” special purpose vehicle” designed to facilitate legitimate trade between companies within the EU who wish to continuing trading with Iran.

Details of this are unclear, but those close to the talks say the terms of the alternate payment mechanism remain incomplete.

EU - Iran trade has tripled the three years since the removal of sanctions in 2015, from around €7 billion to over €21 billion.

However, some major European companies have already suspended operations with Iran for fear of consequences from the US administration which has warned it will impose secondary or extraterritorial sanctions against any company still trading with Tehran.

The EU says it is committed to maintaining the Iran deal, also known as the JCPOA (Joint Action Plan of Action) as it believes Iran has so far complied with its demands to scale back its nuclear program.

Efforts to dissuade US President Donald Trump from pulling out of the Iran deal by EU officials and leaders of key member states failed in the last year.

Mr Trump’s decision to heavily load crippling sanctions on to the Iranian regime has been welcomed by the Israeli and Saudi governments.