The European Commission's blocking statute is seen by European governments more as a political weapon than a regulation, because its rules are vague and hard to enforce, serving mainly as a warning to the US.
"We now need to act and this is why we are launching the process to activate the "blocking statute" from 1996".
"The world is in disorder", European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker declared on Wednesday (16 May).
Leaders from several European Union countries said Thursday they're ready to negotiate with Washington on opening up their markets to more USA exports in exchange for a blanket exemption on industrial tariffs. "The Commission itself will maintain its cooperation will Iran".
UK, French and German foreign ministers, along with the EU's top diplomat, discussed ways of saving the deal with their Iranian counterpart, a week after US President Donald Trump pulled out and reimposed sanctions on Iran.
"What we demand is no conditions and no limits and to go back to the situation before", French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters on his way into the summit on Thursday (Friday NZT).
President Donald Trump responded Thursday to European Council President Donald Tusk's criticism that he's been an unreliable partner, telling reporters the European Union has been "terrible" to the USA on trade and "they can call me all sorts of names". "The hardliners in Iran were the most opposed to this accord".
Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, meanwhile, acknowledged that the pact with Iran, following the USA decision to unilaterally abandon it, was "damaged". The 2015 nuclear agreement is a crucial element of peace and security in the region.
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"Which company is going to risk access to the USA market, which is 100 times larger", Ardavan Amir-Alsani, a Paris-based lawyer who specializes in Iran, said in an interview.
As Europeans have lost the guarantee that Trump would activate article 5 - the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation clause for mutual defence - they are focusing more on EU's own security policies, the two officials noted.
"With the sanctions the Americans are to impose, you can't do business in Iran if you also have business in the USA, and we have that on a large scale", Skou told Reuters.
The EU wants to salvage the nuclear deal and its blocking statute is the most powerful tool at its immediate disposal, as it means EU companies won't have to comply with United States sanctions.
"Frankly the European Union, outside of China and a couple of others, treats us on trade as badly as you can be treated".
Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani said on May 16 that Tehran will not bow to USA pressure.
The EU, which along with Germany, France, Britain, Russia, China and the United States signed the nuclear accord with Iran, does have some steps it can take to shield European business in Iran. They are republished from a number of sources, and are not produced by MintPress News.