EU Will Block US Sanctions Against Iran Starting Friday

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Hu Weijia - EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini is scheduled to meet with the foreign ministers of Britain, France and Germany on Tuesday to discuss the Iran nuclear deal.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Thursday that one reason for the efforts to prop up the Iran deal is "so that our businesses can remain" in Iran.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker has confirmed that beginning Friday, a 1996 "blocking statute" aimed at preventing the enforcement of the United States sanctions against Iran will be brought back into effect.

Growing tensions over President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal is threatening to put unprecedented strain on the post-war transatlantic alliance.

Trump announced the U.S. would withdraw from the Iran deal earlier this month, saying the worldwide agreement was a failure and an "embarrassment to the United States".

The European Commission will start reactivating a so-called blocking statute against extra-territorial sanctions after members states gave it the "green light to be ready to act whenever European interests are affected".

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EU President Donald Tusk renewed attacks on him. Tusk told a news conference. I think the real geopolitical problem is when you have not an unpredictable opponent, the problem is when your closest friend is unpredictable.

"International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their own interests. They should continue to have this freedom", he said upon arriving in Sofia.

In broader trade disputes with Washington, he also called for a complete exemption for the European Union from new USA steel tariffs and said Europe must preserve its "trade sovereignty".

Macron spoke as the Commission, which negotiates trade matters on behalf of the bloc, published a law preparing retaliation. "We have pledged to take necessary political steps for our companies to stay in Iran".

Georgi Gotev contributed to this article.

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