The United States and the European Union have officially reached an impasse on how to deal with Iran. The first batch of U.S. sanctions reimposed after the U.S. withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal will kick in at 12:01 a.m. on Tuesday. The European Union – united on this rare occasion – has opposed the move from the beginning. When the U.S. sanctions resume, a revised version of an obscure 1996 EU law referred to as a “blocking statute” will come into effect to shield European firms doing business in Iran from the effects of the sanctions. But the EU’s efforts to protect its companies and to prop up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will be ineffective. The divergence in strategic thinking between Brussels and Washington, meanwhile, will only deepen with time.
The U.S. and the EU had their fair share of disagreements long before the current U.S. administration came to power. The blocking statute, after all, was originally passed in response to U.S. sanctions against