The EU could use the “blocking regulation”, applied in the 1990s as a counter to US sanctions, which would bar European firms from complying with unilateral, extra-territorial American measures, and allow the “claw-back” of fines imposed by US regulatorsThe EU could go further, taking its case to the World Trade Organization or retaliating against American business in Europe.
European politicians treated US President Donald Trump’s new Iran policy as America going rogue. Europe’s businesses can’t afford to be so dismissive.
On Friday, Trump refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord, threatened to pull out of it completely and impose new sanctions, while inviting the US Congress to weigh in with more.
The European Union rushed to defend the deal and point out that no single country has the right to terminate it.
The US president “has many powers", EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, said. “Not this one."
But America does have the power to take unilateral action that affects companies everywhere—and has used it in the past.
The congress has 60 days to consider reimposing curbs on Iran. Some of them could apply to businesses outside the US, potentially forcing them to choose between the American and Iranian markets, reads a Bloomberg article, the full text of which follows:
“The bottom line for a company is, will it be able to make a profit without getting sued?" said Rouzbeh Parsi, director of the Sweden-based European Iran Research Group that promotes cooperation between Europe and Iran.
The commercial allure of Iran is obvious. It’s a nation of 80 million with oil wealth, a sizable middle class and all the pent-up demand that comes from spending a decade shut out of world markets.
European giants like Siemens and Total have already signed multibillion-dollar deals on the back of the 2015 nuclear accord.