EU countries team up, invoke obscure law to clean up Trump's Iran mess
European Union countries are banding together to keep relations with Iran open and to continue working on the nuclear deal that Trump has violated.
Trump’s decision to violate the Iran nuclear deal is prompting the European Union to take action in direct rebuke of America. The EU will invoke a rarely-used trade law which would circumvent sanctions on Iran and try to salvage relations.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the group plans to invoke a blocking statute. The effect of the statute would be to ban European companies from complying with U.S. sanctions on Iran.
Iran has successfully complied with international inspections of nuclear facilities. Yet Trump, desperate to undo the accomplishments of President Obama, plans to reinstate the sanctions that were lifted in exchange for Iran halting nuclear production.
Furthermore, reintroducing sanctions is also likely to increase U.S. gas prices, causing financial pain for millions of Americans.
And the move showed how willing Trump is to abandon America’s allies, who urged him not to withdraw from the deal.
“We must act now and we will act now,” Juncker told reporters. “That’s why we are launching the process to use the 1996 ‘blocking statute’ to neutralize the extraterritorial effects of U.S. sanctions on European companies.”
The EU nations believe that keeping economic ties with Iran may be able to preserve the agreement.
Halting Iran’s nuclear development is integral to preventing loss of life and additional turmoil in the Middle East and worldwide.
The Trump administration has already threatened Germany if companies in that country don’t break ties with Iran.
The episode is the latest round in America pulling away from the rest of the world under Trump. He has often been at odds with allies like Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom on key issues. Yet he insists on cozying up to autocratic regimes that share his dangerous worldview.
Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, put Trump’s disdain for traditional allies in very clear terms. “With friends like that, who needs enemies,” he wondered.
His assessment appears spot-on. Under Trump, America is going it alone, abandoning allies it once fought beside to prevent the spread of tyranny. And the European Union is doing anything it can to limit the damage from his reckless acts.
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