France underlines maintaining trade ties with Iran

IRNA – French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian stressed the need for preserving trade ties with Iran, saying that this is an important issue.

The European Union is trying to find ways to maintain oil and banking ties with Iran after the second phase of US sanctions begins in in November and Le Drian said it was important to find ways to keep the Islamic republic trading, AFP reported.

France, Germany and Britain are leading European efforts to save the landmark 2015 deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, which was thrown into crisis in May when US President Donald Trump withdrew and re-imposed sanctions.

European powers are working to rescue the beleaguered nuclear deal with Tehran.

Earlier, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Monday during a meeting with press association AJEF, “With Germany, we are determined to work on an independent European or Franco-German financing tool which would allow us to avoid being the collateral victims of US extra-territorial sanctions.”

“I want Europe to be a sovereign continent not a vassal, and that means having totally independent financing instruments that do not today exist,” he added.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also weighed in Monday, saying the EU is working to protect economic ties with Iran and keep payment channels open. Maas reiterated a proposal to make international payments systems like Swift more independent of the US.

Trump re-imposed the sanctions after pulling the US out of the Iran nuclear accord in May, despite opposition from NATO allies and China and Russia.