EU Must Defend Firms against US Iran Sanctions: Macron

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that the European Union must protect EU companies doing business with Iran from US sanctions being reimposed after Washington’s withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

EU Must Defend Firms against US Iran Sanctions: Macron

Asked on arrival at a summit of EU leaders in Bulgaria if he was concerned about an announcement by French oil major Total that it may pull out of Iran after Washington pulled out of the nuclear agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), Macron said it was up to firms active in various markets to make their own decisions, Reuters reported.

But while voicing understanding for big companies anxious to protect their US sales, he added that the EU must stand by smaller companies which were willing to carry on Iran business.

“International companies with interests in many countries make their own choices according to their own interests. They should continue to have this freedom,” he said.

“But what is important is that companies and especially medium-sized companies which are perhaps less exposed to other markets, American or others, can make this choice freely.”

France, Macron said, backed proposals by the European Commission to protect and compensate European companies that might be hit by US sanctions for trading with Iran.

On Wednesday, French energy group Total said it would pull out of a multibillion-dollar gas project in Iran if it couldn’t secure a waiver from the US sanctions.

On May 8, US President Donald Trump refused to keep his country in the nuclear deal, which was achieved in Vienna in 2015 after years of negotiations.

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