Companies scurry for clarity on Iran amid US threats

Press TV- International businesses and state agencies are seeking clarifications in the face of the US sending mixed signals about business with Iran.

Tehran, which faces already reluctant international companies for trade, is on Washington’s radars again for fresh restrictive measures despite vociferous opposition from Europe and other countries.

On Friday, media reports said the US House of Representatives will vote next week on a bill sought by President Donald Trump, which could allow sanctions against Iran to automatically kick in.

The draft bill could derail a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran by holding the country to a series of requirements not previously agreed to when the deal was forged by the US and other countries two years ago, the Associated Press reported.

The legislation, the news agency said, aims to meet Trump’s demands that Congress act quickly to toughen the existing law that governs US participation in the Iran nuclear deal.

Iran and other parties to the nuclear agreement have made it clear that they would not conform to any unilateral US measures and that the new coercive steps would not have a bearing on their nascent trade relationship.

However, the belligerent US posture is already generating a swirl of apprehension.

On Friday, French businesses and foreign and finance ministry officials were said to be meeting next week to discuss the consequences of Trump’s refusal to certify the Iran nuclear deal.

Trump did not pull the US out of the agreement, but gave the US Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose the economic sanctions that were lifted on Iran under the pact in January 2016.

The Medef business group will gather officials from the foreign ministry, finance ministry and France’s business office in Tehran on Tuesday to offer an “analysis of the consequences of the non-certification” of the accord by Trump, reports said.

“We’re still assessing how firms are reacting to the Trump decision, but we are trying to not be overly alarmist with them,” Reuters quoted an unnamed French diplomatic source as saying.

Medef led a large delegation of business people and industry groups on a mission to Iran to explore business opportunities in the country after the deal was agreed.

France’s energy group Total and its automakers Peugeot and Renault were among the first multinational groups to clinch deals with Iran after the sanctions were lifted.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne, whose company plans a $5 billion development of phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars, said Wednesday it was waiting for the US Congress’s decision and that it would withdraw from Iran if obliged by law.