The UK and EU partners will move to block Donald Trump’s sanctions on Iran in order to preserve peace, they have announced.
The EU will take immediate action to block the impact of US sanctions, which came into force on Monday after the US President backed out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May.
Now, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has issued a joint statement with EU foreign ministers on their “determination to protect” European businesses working with Iranian companies.
The joint statement said: “The lifting of nuclear-related sanctions is an essential part of the deal – it aims at having a positive impact not only on trade and economic relations with Iran, but most importantly on the lives of the Iranian people.
“We are determined to protect European economic operators engaged in legitimate business with Iran, in accordance with EU law and with UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
“This is why the European Union’s updated Blocking Statute enters into force on 7 August to protect EU companies doing legitimate business with Iran from the impact of US extra-territorial sanctions.”
The re-imposition of US sanctions on Iran has driven the biggest wedge yet between Europe and Washington, after Mr Trump sparked a global trade war, pulled out of the Paris Climate Change Accord, and moved the US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem.
The full statement, also signed by EU High Representative Federica Mogherini, French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, and Heiko Maas of Germany, talks of their “deep regret” about the US leader’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The group stresses that the JCPOA goal is to ensure the Iranian programme remains “exclusively peaceful” and that this has been confirmed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 11 consecutive reports and is expected to continue.
They said the action plan is a key element of the global nuclear non-proliferation architecture, “crucial for the security of Europe, the region, and the entire world”.
JCPOA partners will continue to maintain financial channels and oil and gas export relationships with Iran.
The statement added: “These efforts will be intensified and reviewed at ministerial level in the coming weeks.
“Preserving the nuclear deal with Iran is a matter of respecting international agreements and a matter of international security.”