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>> The EU has set up a workaround that skirts US sanctions and allows some trade with Iran, despite US pressure on its European allies to cease all such business. Reuters Robin Emmott in Brussels, says Washington isn't thrilled by Europe's efforts, but it won't lose too much sleep either.
>> There could be a way that this gets past Washington because it focuses mainly on humanitarian trade. And the United States would live without, because, obviously, their point is that they want to target what they call the Iranian regime, rather than ordinary Iranians. Because the US sanctions are so all-encompassing, they can reach well beyond US frontiers, it's very difficult to get around them.
So it may be that this new trade mechanism can only deal in small amounts of trade because it's a bottle-like system.>> The move could also keep alive the flailing joint 2015 nuclear deal. France, Germany, and Britain were key negotiations, to what we seem as a huge EU foreign policy achievement.
They oppose US president Donald Trump decision to pull out last year, but that hasn't stop EU relations with Tehran worsening. This month it slick its first sanctions on Iran since the nuclear pact was signed. After Iranian missile tests and after alleged assassination plots were uncovered on European soil.
>> So this isn't really a change of heart, this is basically what the EU diplomats like to call a two track approach. So they say to Iran, look, we will keep the deal alive, we must do more. You want to stop your ballistic missile defense program, you want to curtail your role in Syria's civil war, and you want to do what you can to try and bring the war in Yemen to an end.
None of this is going down very well in Tehran, and so there have been tensions.>> The risk of breaching US sanctions have put European companies off the big deals with Iran they once hoped for. And while Iran has welcomed this latest step, diplomats say it will bring little relief to its sanctions hit economy.