European Union fights against USA sanctions on Iran

Iranian President Rouhani and his Austrian counterpart Van der Bellen inspect a guard of honor in Vienna

The first set of US sanctions coming back on Monday target Iran's automotive sector as well as gold and other metals.

A Saudi official has clarified reports that the Kingdom has agreed to admit an Iranian diplomat to head an office representing Iranian interests in Riyadh.

The May decision to withdraw from the Iran deal, officially dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), gave a 90-day wind-down period for some business activities, and a 120-day wind-down period for others.

The Trump administration said it would restore sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear accord at midnight on Monday, ratcheting up pressure on Tehran while worsening a divide with Europe.

The threat of EU penalties for European firms who fail to seek such a legal exemption has raised alarm among EU businesses; that they could be penalized either way. "They don't understand the meaning of this statement, because it makes no sense for Iranian oil not to be exported, while regional oil exports continue", he said. Shortly after it was negotiated, Republicans in Congress tried, and narrowly failed, to pass a resolution formally disapproving of the executive agreement.

But Obama's successor Trump pulled out of the pact on May 8, fulfilling a 2016 campaign promise to withdraw from a deal which he once described as the "worst ever".

If the US wants negotiations, it should stop pressures and sanctions, Qasemi was quoted as saying by official IRNA news agency.

An EU "blocking statute" will take effect on Tuesday to nullify United States legal action against European firms in connection with Iran.

The new ATR-72600 planes are part of a deal for 20 new aircraft that Iran Air agreed to buy in April 2017, of which eight have been delivered so far.

"The JCPOA, a frightful, one-sided deal, failed to achieve the fundamental objective of blocking all paths to an Iranian nuclear bomb, and it threw a lifeline of cash to a murderous dictatorship that has continued to spread bloodshed, violence, and chaos", he wrote.

"The Blocking Statute allows European Union operators to recover damages arising from U.S. extraterritorial sanctions from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the European Union of any foreign court rulings based on them", the Commission said in a press release.

"The president is trying to find a way to move forward, but it's going to require enormous change on the part of the Iranian regime", Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo said Sunday.

"This is completely consistent with what the president has done with other less friendly regimes ... to keep the maximum pressure until our goals are achieved", a senior administration official told reporters in a conference call. The action completes the withdrawal from the unsigned JCPOA and resets American-Iranian relations to the status quo ante.

To this point, however, Tehran has been unimpressed with such overtures.

Trump repeatedly has tweeted that he is willing to talk directly to Iranian officials without preconditions. "The pressure will not relent while the negotiations go on", said Bolton, one of the administration's main hawks on Iran. "USA hypocrisy knows no bounds".

The sanctions aim to modify Iran's behaviour and not bring about a "regime change" targeting President Hassan Rouhani, US officials said.

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