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EU Reacts Negatively To U.S. Decision Ending Iran Oil Purchase Exemptions

Maja Kocijancic, EU spokesperson. File photo
Maja Kocijancic, EU spokesperson. File photo

The European Union has reacted negatively to the latest U.S. move to increase pressure on Iran.

The European Union on Tuesday criticized the U.S. decision to scrap exemptions allowing limited oil purchases by five friendly countries.

Washington imposed sanctions on Iran’s oil exports in November but allowed some countries to continue buying some oil for six months, ending in May.

European Commission spokeswoman Maja Kocijancic expressed "regret" over the U.S. decision and said that it "risks further undermining" the Iran nuclear deal. The EU opposed the U.S. decision in May last year to pull out of the 2015 nuclear agreement.

France, which is one of three European countries involved in setting up a mechanism to help trade with Iran in face of U.S. sanctions, reiterated that the effort is making progress.

The French foreign ministry said on Tuesday, April 23 that the Instrument for Trade Exchanges or Instex is in place and Iran should also ready its counter-part.

Europe has been promising Iran a special trade arrangement since mid-2018, when Washington began reimposing sanctions on Tehran, but so far it has not become operational.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AP