Can the European Union’s Sanctions Blocking Regulation Save the Iran Nuclear Deal?

The European Union (EU) on May 18 announced that it was beginning the process to activate its proposed blocking regulation, initially proposed in 1996 to try to counteract what the EU saw as the extraterritorial reach under the United States’ Iran-Libya Sanctions Act (ILSA) and Cuba sanctions program. Those disagreements were settled politically with the Clinton administration, but there has been renewed interest in the draft regulation in the wake of US President Donald J. Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and reimpose US secondary sanctions on Iran.  

It is not clear that proponents of reviving the regulation fully appreciate just how different the global financial and compliance environments are now compared to the mid-1990s.

The draft from 1996 will have to be updated to include more recent US sanctions, and although it is unclear how much more substantively it will change, its original provisions provide some basis for analysis.

Read the entire piece over at the New Atlanticist.

Related Experts: Brian O’Toole

Image: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attended a meeting with European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini at the EU Council in Brussels on May 15. (Thierry Monasse/Pool via Reuters)