France condemns US move to re-impose Iran sanctions

May 11, 2018, 21:08 IST | IANS

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in an interview with Le Parisien published on Thursday, said European companies should not have to pay for the US decision

Jean-Yves Le Drian
Jean-Yves Le Drian / AFP

France has slammed an "unacceptable" the US move to re-impose sanctions on companies trading with Iran following President Donald Trump's decision to dump the landmark 2015 deal that sought to curb Tehran's nuclear programme.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, in an interview with Le Parisien published on Thursday, said European companies should not have to pay for the US decision.

"We feel that the extraterritoriality of their sanction measures is unacceptable. The Europeans should not have to pay for the withdrawal from an agreement by the US, to which they had themselves contributed."

Le Drian said the new sanctions regime would also affect the US and that Europeans would "put in place the necessary measures to protect the interests of our companies and start negotiations with Washington" on the matter.

The commitment of other partners to the Iran deal should be respected, said Le Drian, adding that the effects of the US move were already being felt in rising oil costs and an increase in political uncertainty in the Middle East.

France, Britain and Germany had all said they will work with Iran to try to salvage the agreement.

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said he would work with affected companies to try to "minimise the negative consequences" of the US move, adding: "That means, it is concretely about damage limitation."

A number of French firms have signed billion-dollar agreements with Iran since the nuclear accord was signed in 2015. They include Airbus, the oil giant Total and the car makers Renault and Peugeot, the BBC reported.

They would have to wind up investments by November or face US sanctions.

On Thursday, US individuals and entities were barred from doing business with six Iranian individuals and three companies that Washington said had ties to the Revolutionary Guards.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the penalties targeted those who had funnelled millions of dollars to the group, funding its "malign activity".

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