As the first batch of re-imposed US sanctions on Iran takes effect, the EU’s updated Blocking Statute entered into force on 7 August 2018 to mitigate the impact of these sanctions on the interests of EU companies doing legitimate business in Iran.
The updated Blocking Statute is part of the European Union’s support for the continued full and effective implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the Iran nuclear deal-, including by sustaining trade and economic relations between the EU and Iran, which were normalised when nuclear-related sanctions were lifted as a result of the JCPOA.
The process of updating the Blocking Statute was launched by the Commission on 6 June 2018, when it added to its scope the extra-territorial sanctions the US is re-imposing on Iran. A two-month scrutiny period for the European Parliament and the Council followed. Since neither objected, the update was published and entered into force on 7 August 2018.
The Blocking Statute allows EU operators to recover damages arising from the extra-territorial sanctions within its scope from the persons causing them and nullifies the effect in the EU of any foreign court rulings based on them. It also forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions, unless exceptionally authorised to do so by the Commission in case non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union.
To help EU operators with the implementation of the updated Blocking Statute the Commission published a Guidance Note to facilitate understanding of the relevant legal acts.
A template is available for EU operators who consider that non-compliance with relevant extra-territorial legislation within the scope of the Blocking Statute would seriously damage their interests or the interests of the Union, in order to help them prepare and submit an application for an authorisation. The possibility to apply for an authorisation is foreseen as an exception in Regulation (EC) No 2271/96, which does not create an individual right for the applicant to obtain an authorisation. The Commission will assess each application and provide the applicant with a succinct motivated decision. Applications will be assessed on the basis of agreed criteria, also adopted on 7 August 2018.
In addition, EU operators should bear in mind that the authorisation procedure should not be used to seek so-called "letters of comfort" from the Commission or confirmation that their business decisions are in line with the Blocking Statute.
On this page, you will find the relevant documents related to the Blocking Statute: the Regulation as adopted in 1996, the legal acts that entered into force on 7 August 2018 (Commission Implementing Regulation and Delegated Act updating the Blocking Statute), the Guidance Note to help you navigate through these provisions, and a Template to consider and submit a possible application to be exceptionally authorised by the Commission to comply with the relevant extra-territorial legislation within the scope of the Blocking Statute, in case non-compliance would seriously damage your interests or the interests of the Union.