France spurs its companies to Iran business despite JCPOA limbo

February 9, 2018

TEHRAN- France encourages its companies to keep doing business in Iran in spite of objections raised by U.S. President Donald Trump over the landmark 2015 nuclear deal- known as the joint comprehensive plan of action (JCPOA), director of bilateral relations at the French Finance Ministry told a Euromoney Iran conference on Thursday.

“We are in limbo on the international scene. Nobody knows what will happen after May. This is the uncertainty our French companies are facing, and this is something you have to take for granted if you want to do business in Iran,” Reuters quoted Joffrey Celestin-Urbain as saying at the second round of the one-day Euromoney Iran Conference, which was held in Paris, co-hosted by Central Bank of Iran (CBI).

The conference, attended by different Iranian top officials including Iranian Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad Khazaie and CBI Governor Valiollah Seif sought to bring together Iranian bankers and industrial leaders with their international counterparts to discuss and debate the key issues around Iran’s reintegration into the global economy.

France and other European countries have been looking to increase trade with Iran since Paris, Washington and other world powers agreed to lift most economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for limitations on Tehran’s nuclear program.

But President Trump on January 12 vowed to restore U.S. sanctions unless France, Britain and Germany change the agreement to his liking. That has effectively put it on life support until mid-May.

According to Celestin-Urbain, France’s short-term priority was to keep trade simple and complete a scheme this year to offer euro-denominated credits to Iranian buyers of French goods, a move that would keep bilateral trade outside the reach of U.S. sanctions.

“There is barely any private financing channels from France to Iran, so it prompted us to step in. We are hoping to finalize soon,” he added.

HJ/MA
 

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