Source: Press TV
France says a joint request by Europe's three largest economies from the US to exempt their companies from sanctions for doing business with Iran has gone unanswered. French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said his country as well as Germany and Britain have not received "positive signs" from Washington. "For the moment, our requests remain unanswered," he told the Anglo-American Press Association.
"Iran looking to Europe for hope"
Read related article (in Persian) by Iranian daily Shargh
Foreign and finance ministers of the three European countries wrote a letter
to senior US officials early this month, singling out key areas which they
wanted to be excluded from US sanctions.
The first sanctions will kick in as early as Aug 6, with the next phase of the extraterritorial measures expected to come on Nov 4.
The sanctions in August will be targeting the Iranian Central Bank and the country's precious metal sector, while November's sanctions will be weighing on Iran's oil and energy sector.
In their June 4 letter, the European ministers wanted key areas such as pharmaceuticals, healthcare, energy, automotive, civil aviation, infrastructure and banking to be exempted.
The ministers have said US measures, including its secondary sanctions that could prevent the European Union from continuing to uphold a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, would harm Europe's security interests.
Le Maire said earlier this month that Europe had to build independent financial institutions immunized from US penalties which are making business in Iran impossible for European companies.
Most French companies interested in maintaining business in Iran "won't be able to stay because they need to be paid for the products they deliver to or build in Iran," he said.
Some major firms such as French oil group Total and carmaker PSA have already been winding down activities in Iran, but Renault has said it will stand its ground.
The European Union is currently locked in a trade dispute with the US.
Washington has already imposed tariffs on European-made steel and aluminum, with President Donald Trump threatening on Friday to levy next a 20% duty on all cars assembled in Europe.
Le Maire warned Monday that Europe would hit back if Trump followed through with the threat. "If the United States hits us again with a 20 percent increase on cars we will respond again," he said.
The European Union responded to the first US tariffs with duties of its own, targeting $3.2 billion in American goods exported to the 28-member bloc.
China on Monday sought common ground with the EU in opposing what Beijing sees as US protectionism as it pledged to buy more Airbus jetliners and farm products from France and to work on lowering barriers to its markets.
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