Many French companies and international businesses are looking to continue to conduct business with/in Iran. This has been put in jeopardy by the latest sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic by the United States. The United States has found itself at odds with Iran as President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal along with the sanctions. Iran simultaneously is gaining large amounts of influence in Iraq, both parliamentary and militarily. As a centrifugal ally of the U.S. in the middle east, Iraq provides a key staging area for U.S. military forces aiming to maintain a presence in the region. Now the two nations dispute is affecting the international community and France is speaking out.

French Minister of Finance Bruno Le Maire told local media that these French companies

… won’t be able to stay because they need to be paid for the products they deliver to or build in Iran, and they cannot be paid because there is no sovereign and autonomous European financial institution. Our priority is to build independent, sovereign European financial institutions which would allow financing channels between French, Italian, German, Spanish and any other countries on the planet. It’s up to us Europeans to choose freely and with sovereign power who we want to do business with. The United States should not be the planet’s economic policeman.”

Le Maire along with his European Union counterparts, are attempting to acquire exemptions for their businesses. Many of these companies set up shop in Iran back in 2015 when the deal was put into place and have been largely successful in their international trade. A big player in the region, French oil company Total and vehicle manufacturer PSA have already expressed that the will be unable to continue operations in Iran due to the financial hit they would take if they chose to ignore the sanctions. Renault claims it will being staying in Iran but they do not sell vehicles to the United States and the sanctions should not affect them. Many financial analysts have claimed it will be unlikely that multinational businesses will be protected for the United States’ “extraterritorial” influence since many of the larger international banks work through the United States and only do major transactions using U.S. dollars. The initial sanctions will take effect in early August and will apply to the Iranian civil aviation and automotive sectors.

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