TEHRAN (Press Shia Agency) – An official with the European Union said the 28-member block has intensified its efforts to preserve the 2015 nuclear accord between Tehran and world powers and maintain economic relations with the Islamic Republic in the face of Washington’s sanctions.

“The efforts to preserve the Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, and economic and trade relations with Iran have been intensified in recent weeks, especially those that are related to the setting up of the special purpose vehicle,” Maja Kocijancic, European Union spokeswoman for foreign affairs, said on Friday, Bloomberg reported.

“One of the key measures from our side was the blocking statute, which was updated in August,” Kocijancic told reporters in Brussels.

“This is one of the measures that have been put in place, but it’s the one that’s very relevant for companies because, from our point of view, trade with Iran remains legitimate.”

The special purpose vehicle the EU is developing is aimed at helping companies to avoid the US sanctions and continue doing business with Iran, but details remain vague. Some companies, including energy firms Total SA and Engie SA, have said they would halt some operations in Iran due to the US measures.

European Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom admitted this week that the idea of the SPV “looks nice on paper but it’s hard to do” in practice.

European Commission Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis said on Monday that EU officials “regret this decision of the US to take unilateral actions” against Iran. “Iran is actually sticking to its side of the deal, so the international community should (also) stick with it,” he said.