EU energy official assures commitment to Iran nuclear deal

The European Union’s energy commissioner said Saturday the EU will stay committed the Iran nuclear deal as long as it complies.

The European Union's energy official assured commitment to the Iran nuclear deal on Saturday despite the U.S. withdrawal from the accord earlier this month. A day before the European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) and European Council President Donald Tusk said that European partners were united in efforts to keep the Iranian nuclear agreement in place. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI
The European Union’s energy official assured commitment to the Iran nuclear deal on Saturday despite the U.S. withdrawal from the accord earlier this month. A day before the European Union President Jean-Claude Juncker (L) and European Council President Donald Tusk said that European partners were united in efforts to keep the Iranian nuclear agreement in place. File Photo by Stephen Shaver/UPI

The 2015 deal — called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — was agreed upon by the United States, which recently pulled out of the deal, China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain and the European Union. It lifts Iranian sanctions in exchange for Tehran curbing its nuclear program.

“We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the agreement the Europeans will…fulfill their commitment,” European Energy Commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said Saturday in a Radio Free Europe report.

The European Union was once the largest buyer of Iranian oil.

“We will try to intensify our flows of trade that have been very positive for the Iranian economy,” Canete said.

The promise to stick to the Iran nuclear deal comes a day after the European Commission announced a way to avoid U.S. penalties from its sanction on Iran that extends to its oil. The commission proposed on Friday to let its members pay Iran’s central bank directly for oil to avoid the U.S. penalties. Further, the commission also moved to re-impose by Aug. 6 a blocking statute originally created in 1996 to get around the U.S. trade embargo on Cuba .

The statute “forbids EU companies from complying with the extraterritorial effects of U.S. sanctions,” the commission said.

By Sommer Brokaw