Source: Press TV
The European Union has agreed 18 million in development aid to Tehran as the 28-nation bloc steps up efforts to blunt the impact of returning American sanctions against Iran and keep it in the multilateral 2015 nuclear deal.
We are supporting Iran with a package of €18 million for projects in support of sustainable economic and social development, including €8 million assistance to the private sector and SMEs → https://t.co/eb0WR0wtsL pic.twitter.com/HpFyFJR6XR— European Commission 🇪🇺 (@EU_Commission) August 23, 2018
The measure was announced in a statement on Thursday by the EU's foreign
policy chief, Federica Mogherini, who once again reaffirmed Europe's commitment
to joint efforts with Iran to keep the nuclear deal alive without the US.
Washington in May went against international calls and unilaterally scrapped the nuclear agreement, announcing that it would re-impose the anti-Iran sanctions that were lifted under the multilateral accord.
Denouncing the White House's hostile move, Iran's other partners to the deal -- France, the UK, Germany, Russia and China -- vowed efforts to protect the agreement, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
The EU is currently working to maintain trade ties with Iran. Tehran says it will stay in the deal only if it is able to reap the economic benefits of the sanctions relief under the JCPOA.
Thursday's aid offer to Iran is part of a broader package of 50 million euros earmarked for Tehran in the EU budget.
1/Important: concrete & tangible move by EU on #Iran #JCPOA today: EU Commission approves a first package of €18 million for projects in support of sustainable economic & social development in Iran - including €8 million assistance to the private sector. https://t.co/lc4AknvK1V— Ellie Geranmayeh (@EllieGeranmayeh) August 23, 2018
In her statement, Mogherini said, "This new package will widen economic and
sectoral relations in areas that are of direct benefit to our citizens."
The new measure will see the EU allocate eight million euros to Iran's private sector, including assistance for small- and medium-sized enterprises and the country's Trade Promotion Organization.
Another eight million euros is also slated to be spent on environmental projects, while a further two million euros will go to fighting harm caused by drugs.
In the face of Iran and its own EU allies, Washington has launched a campaign of
pressure and threats against those European firms that defy US bans and fail to
leave the Iranian market.
In a new warning to US allies, hawkish US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Tuesday that the Europeans have to make a choice between the US and Iran in observing American sanctions.
Thursday's move is the latest in a series of measures taken by the EU to meet Iran's demand for Europe's "practical strides" in support of the deal.
On August 6 -- the same day the first batch of US bans snapped back in place against Iran -- the EU activated an updated version of its Blocking Statute, which prohibits European companies from complying with US sanctions on Iran.
The bloc has also warned that it could impose its own sanctions against the companies that stop doing business with Iran in compliance with US bans.
The European Union has been planning to open bank accounts for Iran to facilitate direct transactions with the country and non-reliance on the American financial system.
Earlier this week, Germany said the European countries need to adopt payment systems independent of the US if they seek to keep the JCPOA in place.
German foreign minister Heiko Maas:— willem middelkoop (@wmiddelkoop) August 24, 2018
Europe's relationship with the US was changing even before Donald Trump and his provocative Tweets came along. Germany now sees the current trans-Atlantic antipathy as a historic opportunity to redefine the EU's role
In turn, the UK reopened a bank account of the Iranian Embassy in the country,
which had been blocked over international sanctions on Iran since 2009.
London has also enhanced its nuclear cooperation with Iran, with Tehran saying the US has been replaced with the UK in a working group tasked with redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor in central Iran.
The first phase of US sanctions target Iran's access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector. The second phase , which will return in early November, takes aim at Iran's oil sales and its Central Bank.
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