Merkel cau­tious on com­pen­sa­tion af­ter U.S. pull­out

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD -

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel sig­nalled Thurs­day that it won’t be fea­si­ble to of­fer wide-rang­ing com­pen­sa­tion to Euro­pean com­pa­nies af­fected by U.S. sanc­tions over Iran’s nu­clear pro­gram.

Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump last week with­drew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nu­clear deal, but Euro­pean sig­na­to­ries vowed to sal­vage it. Trump’s move means that Iran is likely to be hit with U.S. sanc­tions. It is pos­si­ble they might also have an im­pact on some Euro­pean com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness with Iran.

Merkel said af­ter EU lead­ers met in Bul­garia that “all Euro­pean Union mem­ber states still stand by this agree­ment.’’

But she was cau­tious about pos­si­ble com­pen­sa­tion for com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Iran. She said that “we can see whether we can give small and medium-sized com­pa­nies cer­tain re­lief. That is be­ing ex­am­ined.’’

How­ever, “as for com­pen­sat­ing all busi­nesses in a com­pre­hen­sive way for such mea­sures by the United States of Amer­ica, I think we can­not and must not cre­ate il­lu­sions,’’ she added.

In an ef­fort to keep Iran in the deal, the EU’s ex­ec­u­tive Com­mis­sion an­nounced that it will start work on re­vis­ing a so-called block­ing reg­u­la­tion that was drawn up in 1996 in re­sponse to the fall­out from U.S. sanc­tions on Cuba, and on Libya and Iran.

The mea­sure has never been used, but in essence it bans com­pa­nies from re­spect­ing Amer­i­can sanc­tions where those sanc­tions might dam­age EU in­ter­ests, notably trade and the move­ment of cap­i­tal.

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