The remarks came as the clock clicks down the last several weeks until November 4, when the US is due to target Iran with restrictive measures pertaining to the Islamic Republic’s oil sector.
Reza Khayyamian, head of the Society of Iranian Petroleum Industries Equipment Manufacturers, announced that that at least 110 small and mid-sized European companies “have declared preparedness to start joint ventures with Iranian firms and start operation in Iran’s oil and gas industries,” according to Fars News Agency.
He added that the heads of the European oil and gas companies will hold talks with their Iranian counterparts in the face of the US sanctions against Iran, which it was slapped with after Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
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Fars recalled in this context that Khayyamian’s statement came after Mohammad Ebrahimi, chief executive of Iran’s Sepahan Oil Company (SOC) had already clinched a bilateral deal with Michael Hyde, CEO of the German company ADL company. The sides specifically agreed to cooperate on transferring technology related to oil and gas lubricants.
In late September, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini announced that the foreign ministers of the remaining signatories to the JCPOA had agreed to create a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) that would facilitate trade transactions between European companies and Iran amid US sanctions.
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Earlier, European Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said that the EU had launched the so-called Blocking Statute, with the specific purpose of protecting EU businesses in the face of the anti-Iranian sanctions. Such a statute exempts the EU companies doing legitimate business in Iran from complying with the US restrictions.
Andreeva explained that the EU Blocking Statute stipulates that “EU operators are free to conduct their business as they see fit in accordance with the EU law and the applicable national laws.”
“This means that they are free to choose whether to start working, continue or seize business operations in Iran, and whether or not to engage in the economic sector on the basis of their assessment of the economic situation,” she underscored.
On May 8, US President Donald Trump announced that his country would withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. In addition, he pledged to reinstate the previously-lifted sanctions targeting Tehran, including the secondary ones, which target other countries for doing business with the Islamic Republic.