EghtesadOnline: France pledged on Friday to push back against the threat of US sanctions against French companies doing business with Iran, in the wake of Washington’s withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran.
The French government is seeking waivers and longer transition periods from the United States for companies such as Renault and Total, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, while pressing for European Union measures to improve the bloc’s “economic sovereignty” in the longer term, Reuters reported. “It’s time European countries opened their eyes,” Le Maire said on Europe 1 radio. Europe needs new “financial instruments allowing it to be independent from the United States”, Le Maire said. Le Maire said he had asked US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for temporary or permanent exemptions for French companies, citing carmaker PSA, drug giant Sanofi and food group Danone among those affected-in addition to Renault and oil major Total. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian also toughened the government’s tone in an interview with Le Parisien. “We’re telling the Americans that it’s their business what sanctions they impose, but we consider the extraterritoriality of these measures unacceptable,” Financial Tribune quoted Le Drian as saying. “Europeans should not have to pay for US withdrawal from an agreement.”