France to Finance Exports to Iran, Sidestep Anti-Tehran Sanctions: Report
France will start offering euro-denominated credits to Iranian buyers of its goods later this year, a move to bolster trade while keeping it outside the reach of US sanctions, the head of state-owned investment bank Bpifrance said.
“We put a lot of preparation into this in 2017 and we keep on working, every single day, on the conditions of our entrance into Iran,” Bpifrance’s chief executive Nicolas Dufourcq said, referring to the new loans, Reuters reported on Thursday.
“This is a completely separate flow (of money),” he added.
“There is no (US) dollar in this scheme… no one holding a US passport.”
There is a pipeline of about 1.5 billion euros in potential contracts from interested French exporters, Dufourcq told lawmakers.
The plan is to offer dedicated, euro-denominated export guarantees to Iranian buyers of French goods and services. By structuring the financing through vehicles without any US link, whether to the currency or otherwise, the aim is to avoid the extraterritorial reach of US legislation.
The move could anger US President Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement reached by his predecessor Barack Obama. Washington has maintained some financial restrictions, leaving private banks – even those based outside the United States – wary of financing deals.
Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France, and Germany) reached the 159-page nuclear agreement in July 2015 and implemented it in January 2016.
Since the historic deal was signed in Vienna, the IAEA has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, but some other parties, especially the US, have failed to live up with their undertakings.