EU finance ministers to discuss measures to counter US sanctions on Iran

EU finance ministers to discuss measures to counter US sanctions on Iran
German Chancellor Angela Merkel © European People's Party

The EU is expected to introduce measures to counter US sanctions on Iran and cancel out the impact they might have on European businesses.

Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump announced his intention to re-impose economic sanctions on Iran and withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPoA), an agreement which curbed the country’s ability to develop nuclear weapons. However, EU leaders have announced they will counter US sanctions on Iran in the hopes of keeping the agreement in place.

Trump’s decision has been widely criticised across Europe over the past week, with leaders from Germany, France and the UK – the three European signatories of the JCPoA – condemning the move and insisting that they want the agreement to remain in place. This latest announcement seeks to mitigate the economic outcomes of the US sanctions as a means of keeping the deal in place.

What have EU leaders said?

French finance minister Bruno Le Maire warned that the US’ move could lead to a strong backlash in Europe, counter to the expectation that Europe would side with its transatlantic ally. The Guardian reports that Le Maire warned of a need to “defend our European economic sovereignty,” in response to Trump’s comments that those who continue to do business with Iran could also face sanctions.

Later this month, Le Maire will meet with British and German counterparts to discuss policy options to counter US sanctions on Iran. The US has said that businesses will have up to three months to wind down their business dealings with Iran, while the sanctions will be rolled out over the next six months.

Divisions between the US and the EU have escalated since Trump announced steep new tariffs on steel and aluminium, with fears growing over a potential trade war. Troubles in the relationship between the two world powers have extended beyond trade, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel saying yesterday that Europe could no longer rely on the US to ‘protect’ the bloc.

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