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Tags: APFN | ML | Iran Nuclear

France: Europe Isn't US 'vassal,' Should Trade with Iran

Friday, 11 May 2018 05:38 AM EDT

PARIS (AP) — France's finance minister says European countries should push back harder against the Trump administration over the Iran nuclear deal and not act as "vassals" to the U.S.

Bruno Le Maire said Friday on Europe-1 radio that Europe should not accept that the U.S. is the "world's economic policeman." He wants European companies to be able to continue trade with Iran despite U.S. President Donald Trump's decision this week to re-impose sanctions.

Le Maire proposed creating a European body that would have the same kind of powers that the U.S. Justice Department has to punish foreign companies for their trade practices.

As a result of the new U.S. sanctions, companies worldwide must stop doing business with Iran or risk U.S. fines or other punishment. The sanctions will not only bar U.S. companies from doing business with Iran, but they also will hurt foreign companies by prohibiting them from using American banks unless they cut links with Iran.

"Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their trousers?" Le Maire asked. "Or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?"

European and American companies could lose billions of dollars in commercial deals struck since the 2015 Iranian nuclear accord, and lose access to a major new export market. Trump argued that the 2015 deal, which allowed for the lifting of sanctions, wasn't tough enough on Iran.

Planemakers Airbus and Boeing, oil companies and auto manufacturers like France's Renault and Peugeot could be among companies hardest hit. Le Maire said France is pushing for exemptions for its companies, but that he has "no illusions" about a generous American response.

Meanwhile, the U.S. government tried to further pinch Iran's finances by disrupting a currency exchange network allegedly used to transfer millions of dollars to Iran's Revolutionary Guard. The Treasury Department said in a statement Thursday it took joint action with the United Arab Emirates against nine Iranian individuals and entities involved in the network, and threatened sanctions against any other companies that help those nine.

European governments tried for months to persuade Trump to stick with the deal but failed, and now fear it will raise the risk of conflict in the region. Military tensions between Iran and Israel have already mounted, and oil prices are rising on the uncertainty.

The top diplomats of Iran, France, Britain and Germany are expected to meet early next week to discuss their next steps.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stressed the importance of protecting Israel's security but urged a "new path" of negotiations with Iran to calm tensions.

© Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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France's finance minister says European countries should push back harder against the Trump administration over the Iran nuclear deal and not act as "vassals" to the U.S.Bruno Le Maire said Friday on Europe-1 radio that Europe should not accept that the U.S. is the "world's...
APFN,ML,Iran Nuclear
448
2018-38-11
Friday, 11 May 2018 05:38 AM
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