The EU plans to use its so-called "blocking statute" to counter US sanctions against Iran. The measure was first threatened in response to US sanctions on Cuba in 1996 but never introduced. Will it now help EU firms doing business with Teheran?
On Monday, fresh US sanctions against Iran come into effect, the next salvo in its economic conflict with Tehran. The main targets are oil exports and the financial sector. Europe is having difficulty forming a response.
Ordinary Iranians are likely to suffer the most under the latest round of US sanctions. Though some optimism remains about backdoor support through oil exports, the long-term outlook for Iran's economy remains dire.
An already-reeling Iran is preparing for the United States to reimpose all pre-2015 sanctions. The European Union has declared a general intent to assist Iran, but concrete steps in that direction are not yet evident.
The EU's vow to keep trading with Tehran despite new US sanctions is causing further friction with Washington. The creation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) will help facilitate payments between Iran and Europe.
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