EU Pledges $20.7 Million To Iran To Offset Effects Of US Sanctions

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The European Union announced Thursday that it would be sending 18 million euros ($20.7 million) to Iran in the first of several financial aid packages aimed at economically supporting the country under the weight of U.S. sanctions.

Thursday’s financial package is a chunk of a bigger package of 50 million euros it plans to provide Iran as part of the EU’s proposal to renew cooperation and engagement between Iran and the EU following the crumbling of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“With these measures, the EU demonstrates its support to the Iranian people and their peaceful and sustainable development. It encourages stronger involvement of all actors in Iran and in particular the private sector,” Neven Mimica, the EU’s commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, said in a statement.

The announcement is part of the EU’s effort to maintain the nuclear deal with Iran, formally the JCPOA, after U.S. President Donald Trump pulled out of the deal in May. (RELATED: Tears In Tehran: Trump Pulls US Out Of Iran Nuclear Deal)

The commission is allotting 8 million euros for Iran’s private sector specifically, and another 8 million euros toward technical support in environmental projects.

The remaining 2 million euros are planned for fighting drugs crime and harm caused by drugs.

” […] this new package will widen economic and sectoral relations in areas that are of direct benefit to our citizens,” the EU’s foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in the statement.

After Trump withdrew from the Iran Deal on May 8, Washington also reimposed significant economic sanctions on Iran, which has had a devastating effect on the country’s economy so far, including rising unemployment and high inflation. Iran’s currency, the rial, has also lost nearly half its value since April.

U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday that while the reimposed sanctions are having a significant effect on Iran’s economy, a regime change in Iran is not part of the U.S.’s strategy.

“I think the effects, the economic effects certainly, are even stronger than we anticipated,” Bolton said at a news conference on Wednesday. (RELATED: After Massive Economic Unrest, Rouhani Says Iran Will Not Bow To Pressure From Trump)

Several European countries have made efforts to stabilize the Iran Deal, and on Tuesday Germany called for the EU to set up payment systems separate from the U.S. to save the deal.

“We expect that Europeans will see, as businesses all over Europe are seeing, that the choice between doing business with Iran or doing business with the United States is very clear to them,” Bolton added.

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