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France condemns United States move to re-impose sanctions

France urges Europe to act on 'unacceptable' US Iran sanctions

US President Donald Trump's pullout from the 2015 nuclear deal has upset Washington's European allies, cast uncertainty over global oil supplies and raised the risk of conflict in the Middle East.

Paris. Europe is prepared to introduce measures to nullify the effect of Donald Trump imposing sanctions on any non-US firm that continues to do business with Iran, the French government has said, The Guardian writes.The warning from the French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, suggests Trump's proposals to corral Europe into joining USA foreign policy on Iran may lead to a severe backlash by EU firms and politicians, especially advocates of a stronger independent European foreign policy."We have to work among ourselves in Europe to defend our European economic sovereignty", Le Maire said, adding that Europe could use the same instruments as the U.S. to defend its interests.On Friday Le Maire put forward three main proposals starting with an EU-wide blocking statute similar to an EU regulation passed in 1996 created to nullify any United States sanctions imposed on EU firms.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier that Europe should not accept that the U.S.is the "world's economic policeman", or become the USA "vassals" that "obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their pants;" Rather, Le Maire asked, "or do we want to say we have our economic interests, we consider we will continue to do trade with Iran?"

"Do we want to be vassals who obey decisions taken by the United States while clinging to the hem of their pants?"

"Germany, France and Britain, " the "EU3", say themselves that Iran poses a threat.

The Europeans now faced a "critical and historic choice" over how to react to the Iran deal in particular, said Ellie Geranmayeh, expert at European Council on Foreign Relations.

While Merkel and Johnson made no apparent headway with the US President, there had been signs when Macron met Trump of potential compromise.

They called on the US not to prohibit the future success of the deal, despite its withdrawal.

However, he added the USA "sanctions regime that is now in place is very clear about what the requirements are", hinting that Washington is prepared to go after European companies and allies if they try to continue to do business with Iran.

International Minister Heiko Maas claimed trans-atlantic ties was being destroyed by changes in US coverage.

"This deal is not a bilateral treaty".

Another proposal is to oversee euro-dominate transactions with Iran as Mr Le Maire plans to meet with German and British finance ministers to move the plan along.

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She called for calm on all sides.

"It seems that today screaming and shouting, insulting and bullying, systematically destroying and dismantling everything that is already in place is the mood of our times".

Europe's options, however, are limited.

But a host of companies are now faced with the prospect of doing business with USA or protecting their interests in Tehran. United Kingdom companies have invested £450 billion into Tehran since the USA and Europe lifted sanctions after the signing of the accord with partners Russian Federation and China.

Planemakers Airbus and Boeing, oil companies and auto manufacturers like France's Renault and Peugeot could be among companies hardest hit.

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin also noted in an announcement that "sanctions will be reimposed subject to certain 90 day and 180 day wind-down periods".

However, Le Maire acknowledged he has "no illusions" that he'll get what he asked for.

"It is time that European states opened the eyes", Le Maire explained on Europe 1 radio.

"The consequences of American sanctions go well beyond goods shipped by American companies", Bolton said. Another could be an independent financing mechanism allowing European companies to avoid USA banks.

Trump's new ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, suggested that exemptions were unlikely, saying Thursday, 'German companies doing business in Iran should wind down operations immediately'.

Meanwhile, the US government tried to further pinch Iran's finances by disrupting a currency exchange network allegedly used to transfer millions of dollars to Iran's Revolutionary Guard.

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