THE EU BLOCKING STATUTE AND THE SPECIAL PURPOSE VEHICLE
EU, E3 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) Russia, China, members of the Joint Commission of the JCPOA reiterated their political commitment to the full and continued implementation of the nuclear deal and support to maintain the normalization of trade and economic relations with Iran.
The Blocking Statute aims at countering the unlawful effects of third-country (i.e. U.S.) extra- territorial sanctions on the natural and legal persons specified in its Article 11 (“EU operators”).
Its main purpose is thus to protect EU operators engaging in lawful international trade and/or movement of capital as well as related commerce activities with third countries in accordance with EU law.
The Blocking Statute applies with regard to the extra-territorial legislation mentioned in its Annex (‘listed extra-territorial legislation’), which currently consists of U.S. measures concerning Cuba and Iran.
The basic principle of the Blocking Statute is that EU operators shall not comply with the listed extra-territorial legislation, or any decision, ruling or award based thereon, given that the EU does not recognise its applicability to/effects towards EU operators (Article 5, paragraph 1).
EU decided to establish a Special Purpose Vehicle (INSTEX), to facilitate payments related to Iran's exports (including oil) and imports, which will assist and reassure economic operators pursuing legitimate business with Iran.
The Blocking Statute forbids EU persons from complying with those sanctions unless exceptionally authorised to do so by the Commission in case of non-compliance seriously damages their interests or the interests of the Union. (Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2018/1101of 3 August 2018) ( see annex I TEMPLATE FOR APPLICATIONS FOR AUTHORISATIONS)