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France urges US guarantees for Iran trade

Source: Press TV

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius has urged the US to give concrete guarantees that it will not penalize European companies for trade with Iran after sanctions are lifted on Tehran.

French FM Laurent Fabius shakes hands with Iranian President Hassan Rohani during his visit to Tehran in July 2015.

Sectary of State John Kerry has said European firms would not be subject to penalties when sanctions are lifted but European governments want assurances that any new trade would be safe if the measures were re-imposed.

The call for guarantees comes as France and Italy gear up to receive Iranian President Hassan Rouhani next week for the first official visit of the Iranian chief executive to Europe in a decade.

On Tuesday, the French presidency said France and Iran will sign several agreements, including in the air transport, health and agriculture, during the visit.

French companies have a long history of commercial activities in Iran but they were slapped with heavy penalties by the US when Washington banned trade with Tehran in 2011.

BNP Paribas had to pay a record $8.9 billion in fine in 2014 for facilitating transactions in Iran, Sudan and Cuba.

With the imminent removal of sanctions, "we want that...the same thing doesn't happen again", Fabius told lawmakers in Paris.

"The attitude of the Americans is cooperative, but now we want that to be turned into something concrete," he said

Fabius said since the conclusion of nuclear talks with Iran in July, two missions with French, British and German representatives have visited the United States to discuss the issue.

Fabius led a senior French economic and political delegation to Tehran in mid-September to lay the groundwork for first business contracts.

France's main business lobby group, the Medef, followed on the visit by sending a delegation of more than 100 firms, including oil giant Total, jet manufacturing behemoth Airbus and carmaker Peugeot, to Iran.

Other European countries such as Germany, Italy and Spain have dispatched similar missions to Tehran in their hunt for new business opportunities.

However, companies remain wary of the complex legal structure of the new agreement and risks associated with misunderstanding new regulations as well as the "snapback" provision in which sanctions are re-imposed.

Executives say without concrete US guarantees, they would be unable to commit themselves to new ventures.

... Payvand News - 11/11/15 ... --

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