Total SA depends on American banks so they are pulling out of Iran.
That is how it will work in spite of the EU
The EU could however just decide that banks refusing to do Iran transactions are not eligible on the SWIFT network. The US may be able to stop EU banks from doing Iran transactions, but the EU can stop US banks pretty much from doing all transactions. Of course that would be a pretty nuclear option.
EU also agreed to financing for companies exporting to Iran. I see many A380 seconf hand going to Iran.
They can also just use the European Investment bank to do the transactions via shadow accounts. Since that bank doesn´t have US branches, it is completely out of reach.
They can rescind the bilateral agreement on FATCA and offer the same transaction service to US citizens and customers.
The EU can’t force private companies to work with Iran.
The EU, just as any government entity, can force private companies to comply with the law. The law is, that implementing unilateral US sanctions is illegal. You can not force companies to start new business with Iran, but you can force companies to execute all ongoing projects to their conclusion. With this statute on the books, companies following US law are subject to damages and can be sued by their Iranian customers. There will be plenty of small and midsized companies that have a higher stake in their Iran business that profits from their US business.
Our EU lawmakers can make whatever declarations they desire, but does not stop fact that neither US parts can be exported to Iran, nor that private business will have to choose doing business with Iran or the US. For most its not a choice at all.
Europe is not going to fall on a sword just to do business with Iran, even to score a political point.
At the end of the day, US is countless times more important than Iran.
The "political point" is who gets to decide who a nations companies can and can´t do business with.
Attempting to limit economic freedom historically often enough served as a casus belli. Nation states have literally fallen on swords over and over and over again to make that point.
A trade war is a piece of cake compared to that and most importantly, those are won, without fail, by the side that has the bigger economy to back them up.
Compared to the economic power of the law abiding nations on the right side of this deal, the US clearly has the much smaller economy.
Trump is executing Putins plan to do as much long term damage to the US as possible flawlessly.
This Singature is a safe space......