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EghtesadOnline: France wants to encourage the "normalization" of banking relations with Iran to improve economic relations with the Islamic republic, French Economy Minister Michel Sapin said Saturday in Tehran, AFP reported.

"We can't work on developing our economic relations if we don't also normalize our banking relations," he said after meeting his Iranian counterpart Ali Tayebnia.

"Over the past few months, relations between Iran and France have considerably developed. There are projects being realized, contracts being signed. But financial circuits need to be normalized. It's our aim, our will -- even if it can't be done in a day," ISNA quoted him as saying.

Trust must be built "to allow companies to have financing channels that are safe and efficient", Sapin said.

French and other European companies have returned to Iran since the lifting of international sanctions in January last year when a landmark nuclear deal with world powers came into force.

But international banks have not re-established financial circuits with Iran, fearing reprisals from Washington which has maintained some economic sanctions against the country.

Tensions have mounted since the January inauguration of US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly slammed the July 2015 nuclear deal.

Washington last month imposed new sanctions on individuals and companies related to Iran's missile program.

Sapin said France would encourage its banks to work with Iran, which they have so far refused to do.

"France's big banks are international banks. They work around the world including in the United States. It is therefore normal that they worry about respecting American rules with regards to their American activities," Sapin said.

"I can't blame them, but they need to rebuild trust," he added.

Iran-France trade Iran-France ties Michel Sapin