Iran map
18 May 2018

Iran: France vows to defend its companies' interests

On 15 May Ministers Bruno Le Maire and Jean-Yves Le Drian convened some sixty French companies who could be impacted by the sanctions the US has announced against foreign corporations doing business in Iran.
After pulling out of the Iran nuclear deal, the US has threatened to impose sanctions on foreign companies doing business in Iran. The sanctions being considered are unacceptable because of their extraterritorial nature, which is to say that they apply to foreign companies for business conducted outside US soil.

This announcement has significant economic implications for France, since, as Bruno Le Maire, Minister of Economy and Finance, reminded: "many companies working in the aeronautics, pharmaceutical, energy and automotive sectors have invested heavily in Iran". Since the signature of the deal in 2015, France's Iran-bound exports have risen from €500m to €1.5bn.

The Government intends to take a firm line in defending France's interests. Jean-Yves Le Drian, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs, has pledged that France will "fight to ensure that the decisions made by the United States do not have repercussions on French companies investing or having invested in Iran."

With this in mind, France has set two series of measures in motion:

  • Measures aimed at the US administration to secure exemptions, additional time and compliance with contracts already signed prior to the US decision.
  • Measures for the European Commission's attention, together with Germany and the UK, so that the European Union can shield its economic interests in the face of US pressure. Jean-Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State, said: "this is a moment of truth for the EU. The time has come for Europe to clearly assert its economic sovereignty."