On 12 April 2018, the EU adopted, firstly, Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/568, which extended for 1 year its Iran human rights sanctions (previous blog), and, secondly, Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/569, which amended the statements of reasons relating to 2 people on its Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) sanctions list (previous blog). In relation to the Iran Decision, the EU has announced that Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Moldova have aligned themselves with that measure. In relation to the DRC Decision, the EU has announced that Macedonia, Montenegro, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova and Armenia have aligned themselves with that measure.
On 19 April 2018, the EU adopted Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/611, which added 4 people to its North Korea sanctions list (previous blog). The EU has announced that Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Moldova and Armenia have aligned themselves with that measure.
We reported yesterday that the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker had announced that the EU Commission will “[launch] the process [of activating] the ‘blocking statute’ from 1996”, in order to “protect European companies” from the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions, in light of US President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the JCPOA and to reimpose US sanctions on Iran.
In a press release issued today, the Commission has announced that it has “acted on four fronts” to mitigate the “impact of US sanctions on European businesses” and to “maintain the growth of trade and economic relations between the EU and Iran”:
- It has launched the formal process to activate the Blocking Statute by updating the list of US sanctions on Iran falling within its scope. The Blocking Statute “forbids EU companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions, allows companies to recover damages arising from such sanctions from the person causing them, and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court judgements based on them”. The aim is for the blocking measure to come into force before 6 August 2018 (date on which the first tranche of US sanctions take effect).
- It has launched the process for removing obstacles for the European Investment Bank to decide under the EU budget guarantee to finance activities outside the EU, in Iran.
- As “confidence building measures”, the Commission will “continue and strengthen the ongoing sectoral cooperation with, and assistance to, Iran, including in the energy sector and with regard to small and medium-sized companies”.
- The Commission will encourage member states to explore the possibility of one-off bank transfers to the Central Bank of Iran (“this approach could help the Iranian authorities to receive their oil-related revenues, particularly in case of US sanctions which could target EU entities active in oil transactions with Iran”).
The EU Parliament and Council will have 2 months in which to object to the first two measures above, once proposed, before they enter into force.
In light of President Trump’s decision to cease US participation in the JCPOA and to reimpose US sanctions on Iran, the President of the EU Commission Jean-Claude Juncker has announced that, tomorrow at 10.30am, the EU Commission will “[launch] the process [of activating] the ‘blocking statute’ from 1996”, in order to “protect European companies” from the extraterritorial effects of US sanctions. Furthermore, that a decision had been made to “allow the European Investment Bank to facilitate European companies’ investment in Iran”.
In Brussels yesterday, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini met with the Foreign Ministers of France (Jean-Yves Le Drian), Germany (Heiko Maas), the UK (Boris Johnson) and Iran (Mohammad Javad Zarif) to discuss a workplan for the “continued, full and effective implementation of the Iran nuclear deal”, in light of President Trump’s decision last week to withdraw US participation from the deal and to reimpose US sanctions on Iran.
In a press conference following the ministerial meeting, Federica Mogherini stated that an EU blocking statute was on the agenda for discussion (today, 16 May 2018) with the College of the European Commission.
The EU has added 5 people to its targeted sanctions on those said to be responsible for undermining the territorial integrity of Ukraine (asset freezes and travel bans).
These people are included for being involved in the “organisation of the Russian presidential elections of 18 March 2018 in the illegally annexed Crimea and Sevastopol, thereby actively supporting and implementing policies that undermine the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine”. They are also said to “hold positions of responsibility in the electoral commissions of Crimea or Sevastopol”. The 5 new listed individuals are Inna Nikolayevna Guzeyeva, Natalya Ivanovna Bezruchenko, Aleksandr Yurevich Petukhov, Miroslav Aleksandrovich Pogorelov, and Anastasiya Nikolayevna Kapranova. See EU press release, Council Decision (CFSP) 2018/706 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/705.
Following President Donald Trump’s decision yesterday to withdraw from the JCPOA and to reimpose sanctions on Iran, EU leaders have stated that they will use the next 3 to 6 months – before US sanctions are reinstated – to seek exemptions for European companies.
US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also stated yesterday that export licences for Boeing Co and Airbus to sell passenger jets to Iran would be revoked.
In addition, the UK Office of Foreign Affairs has updated its guidance for British companies doing business in Iran.
The UN Security Council has announced that the Libya sanctions listing of the vessel named ‘Lynn S’ expired on 29 April 2018. As a result, the vessel will no longer be subject to a UN port ban or a prohibition from loading, transporting or discharging petroleum (including crude oil and refined products) from Libya aboard the ship.
On 15 May 2018, the EU deleted vessel ‘Lynn S’ from its Libya sanctions list, see Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/713 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/711.
Earlier this month, the UN Security Council amended the listing of Mohammed Omar Ghulam Nabi under its Afghanistan sanctions by altering his UN designation date from 31 January 2001 to 12 April 2000. UN press release here.
Today, the EU has implemented that UN amendment by adopting Council Implementing Decision (CFSP) 2018/656 and Council Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/648.