Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel, and Donald Trump. Photo: John Macdougall/AFP/Getty Images

Europe has announced it is going to revive a blocking regulation from the 90s that could, with a few supplemental measures, protect EU-based firms from U.S. sanctions against Iran now that the Trump administration has announced a withdrawal from the Iran deal, Reuters reports.

Between the lines: This could buy the Iran deal some time by bolstering the heft of its financial draw for Iran, before the deal crumbles without the U.S. Although European countries party to the Iran deal have said they will try to salvage the deal without the U.S., skeptics believe that most of the incentive Iran had to stay in the deal came from the U.S.' participation.

The details: The regulation would ban companies from complying with U.S. sanctions and could involve seizing U.S. assets in Europe, which could likely exacerbate the trans-Atlantic rift over the Iran deal, not calm things down.

  • Yes, but: Per The Economist, "few EU countries have even implemented the legislation necessary to enforce the blocking regulation, so the whole question could be moot."

The risk: This could blowback on the Europeans as governments can try protecting companies from sanctions, but not necessarily banks — several large European-based banks have paid billions in fines for doing business with Iran:

  • BNP Paribas paid an $8.9 billion settlement after pleading guilty to doing business in Iran, Cuba, and Sudan. Deutsche Bank, ING, Crédit Agricole, Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, and Commerzbank have also paid up, reports Reuters.

What they're saying: Tyler Cullis, an attorney who advises clients on U.S. economic sanctions, told Axios, "The British, French, and Germans (E3) had been reluctant to take that step...out of fear of antagonizing the US. But by announcing its withdrawal from the nuclear deal and its intent to reimpose all US sanctions targeting Iran, including those with extraterritorial effect, the Trump administration gave Europe little to no choice but to resist."

Geography matters: European banks have more difficulty reentering the Iranian market because nearly every transaction they run hits the U.S. financial system.

Go deeper

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
1 min ago - Health

The coronavirus is starting to crush some hospitals

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Some states are seeing dangerous levels of coronavirus hospitalizations, with hospitals warning that they could soon become overwhelmed if no action is taken to slow the spread.

Why it matters: Patients can only receive good care if there's enough care to go around — which is one reason why the death rate was so much higher in the spring, some experts say.

Scoop: The Lincoln Project is becoming a media business

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Lincoln Project is looking to beef up its media business after the election, sources tell Axios.

Driving the news: The group recently signed with the United Talent Agency (UTA) to help build out Lincoln Media and is weighing offers from different television studios, podcast networks and book publishers.

Trump, Biden strategies revealed in final ad push

Data: Bully Pulpit Interactive; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

President Trump is pouring hundreds of thousands of dollars into Facebook ads on the Supreme Court and conservative judges in the final stretch of his campaign, while Joe Biden is spending over a million on voter mobilization, according to an analysis by Axios using data from Bully Pulpit Interactive.

The big picture: Trump's Facebook ad messaging has fluctuated dramatically in conjunction with the news cycle throughout his campaign, while Biden's messaging has been much more consistent, focusing primarily on health care and the economy.