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French Shipping Company Drops Iran Due To U.S. Sanctions Threat


A French flag flies next to containers on a cargo ship owned by shipping company CMA CGM.

French shipping group CMA CGM has decided to pull out of Iran following the U.S. administration's decision to renew sanctions on companies operating in the country, its chief executive says.

"Because of the Trump administration, we have decided to end our service to Iran," Rodolphe Saade told an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence in southern France on July 7.

"Our Chinese competitors are hesitating a bit, so they may have different relationships with the Trump administration, but we apply the rules," he added.

He added that his company's cooperation agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines allowing it to lease spaces for vessels, operate joint shipping lines, and cooperate on the use of port terminals had been suspended and that the company did not want to fall foul of the rules given their large presence in the United States.

Iranian President Hassan Rohani on July 7 demanded that European Union leaders do more to offset U.S. actions protect his country's economy.

"The Europeans always show their goodwill [in the nuclear dispute] but in the end, pragmatic decisions and steps are necessary," Rohani told his cabinet after he met with EU leaders in Vienna.

U.S. President Donald Trump announced in May that the United States is withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal and moving to reimpose tough sanctions against Tehran.

U.S. officials have warned that other nations would face sanctions unless they stopped doing business with Iran.

In recent weeks, several major European companies have said they will exit Iran unless U.S. sanctions are waived.

Last month, European signatories to the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran -- France, Britain, and Germany, as well as the European Union -- called on the United States to spare EU firms doing business with Iran from punitive measures.

Based on reporting by Reuters and AFP