Further to the US withdrawal from the JCPOA and the reimplementation of US secondary sanctions against Iran, the EU has amended the annex to the so-called Blocking Statute (Regulation 96/2271) to include within its scope the list of extra-territorial US sanctions on Iran that the US re-imposed. Accordingly, EU residents and companies are prohibited from complying with the listed US measures having extra-territorial effects unless they are exceptionally authorized to do so by the European Commission. EU operators whose economic and financial interests are affected by the extra-territorial application of those laws are obligated to inform the EU Commission. Moreover, the Blocking Statute nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court ruling based on the foreign laws listed in its annex, and it allows EU operators to recover in court damages caused by the extra-territorial application of the specified foreign laws.

If EU operators consider that non-compliance with a requirement or prohibition based on the specified foreign laws would seriously damage their interests or the interests of the EU, they can apply to the Commission for an authorization to comply with those laws. Such an authorization may be granted by the Commission in specific and duly motivated circumstances, and as a derogation from the rule.

On 7 August 2018 the EU Commission issued a guidance note to help EU operators with the implementation of the updated blocking statute. The guidance note can be found here.

More topics in this series