Trump Won’t Get in EU’s Way in Doing Business With Iran
EghtesadOnline: US President Donald Trump said in an interview aired on Sunday he does not object to France and Germany continuing trade with Iran, despite his refusal to certify the Iran nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
“I told them just keep making money,” the real-estate mogul-turned-president told the Fox News program on Sunday Morning Futures. “Don’t worry. You just keep making money.”
“They are friends of mine. They really are. I get along with all of them. Whether it’s Emmanuel or Angela,” Trump said, referring to French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, AFP reported.
CNN poll finds two-thirds of Americans don’t want President Trump to pull US out of Iran nuclear deal, Financial Tribune reported.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen with that deal,” Trump said of the landmark 2015 accord, which he refused to certify on Oct. 13, leaving the pact’s fate to the US Congress.
“When they buy those things, it is a little harder,” Trump said of French and German commercial dealings with Iran. “I told them just keep making money. Don’t worry. We don’t need you on this one.”
EU Stands Firm by JCPOA
The European Union has, meanwhile, expressed determination to preserve the Iran deal.
EU leaders, who lobbied to stop Trump from withholding his support for the deal, met on Thursday in Brussels, Belgium, and afterward released a statement reaffirming the bloc’s “full commitment” to the 2015 agreement.
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Friday the Trump administration does not intend to disrupt European commerce with Iran.
“The president’s been pretty clear that it’s not his intent to interfere with business deals that the Europeans may have underway with Iran,” Tillerson told The Wall Street Journal.
His comments are aimed at assuaging European concerns that Washington is deliberately creating uncertainty about the nuclear deal’s future to pressure European banks and firms to stay away from Iran.
France to Survey Consequences
French businesses and foreign and finance ministry officials are scheduled to meet, as they work together to understand better the consequences of Trump’s refusal to certify the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
According to an invitation sent to companies by the Medef business group, officials from the foreign and finance ministries and France’s business office in Tehran will offer an “analysis of the consequences of the non-certification” by Trump of the accord.
“We’re still assessing how firms are reacting to the Trump decision, but we are trying to not be overly alarmist with them,” a French diplomatic source was quoted as saying by Reuters.
According to a notice on the Medef website, the discussion points in the upcoming meeting include an explanation on the next steps at the US Congress, the position of the accord’s other signatories-Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and the European Union-and the immediate consequences on companies already operating in Iran.
Established in 1998, Medef is the largest employer federation in France. It has more than 750,000 member firms, 90% of them being small- and medium-sized enterprises.
Lead EU Rush to Iran
Multinationals Total and Peugeot are among the most high-profile companies to have signed new deals since the accord that provided sanctions relief for Iran and dozens of smaller French firms have also moved in or are looking to tap the Iranian market.
According to a report by Muriel Penicaud, former director of the French Agency for International Investments, since the signing of the nuclear agreement, officials from more than 300 French companies visited Iran and more than 2,000 companies expressed their wish to work with Iranian partners.
The biggest contract was signed by the oil giant Total: a more than 50% stake in an investment of about $4.8 billion for the development of an offshore gas field on the Persian Gulf.
Other important contracts have also been signed or are under negotiation: Other joint venture contracts in various fields include the sale of more than 100 Airbus aircraft, ongoing negotiations for the sale of about 40 medium-haul aircraft, PSA (Peugeot-Citroen) contracts with top Iranian automakers Iran Khodro and SAIPA, that of Alsthom with the Iranian companies IDRO and IRICO railcars.
The result has been a 235% increase in trade between Iran and France in 2016, Michel Sapin, a former French economy and finance minister, said on March 4, 2017.
French construction firm Vinci signed a preliminary agreement with the Iranian government to develop airports in the two Iranian cities and tourist hubs of Mashhad and Isfahan after representatives of the European company participated in a business forum at Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture’s headquarters on January 31. Unofficial reports put the value of the deal at $404 million.
Germany was the biggest European exporter to Iran during the first half of 2017 by shipping €1.39 billion worth of goods to the Islamic Republic.
German firms have signed 10 business agreements with Iranian partners during the fifth session of Iran-Germany Economic Commission in Tehran in October 2016.
The German engineering giant Siemens has signed several deals to develop railroads and energy infrastructures in Iran.
The company said in January it had received a major order for 12 compressor trains for two onshore gas processing plants in Iran.
In March, Iran announced a preliminary deal with Siemens to build a plant to manufacture power equipment in Iran.
Siemens has also been cooperating with Iran’s major industrial conglomerate MAPNA Group. It signed a contract with the Iranian giant in 2011 to supply 150 locomotives to IRIR. It also signed a preliminary agreement in October 2016 with Siemens to manufacture 50 diesel electric locomotives for passenger trains.