European businesses scramble for a way to keep doing business with Tehran

'Europeans will do everything to protect companies in Iran'

"There could be exemptions, there could be grandfather clauses", Le Maire said Wednesday on France Culture radio. "The objective is to put and maintain maximum sanctions on Iran; that is the objective here".

Unfortunately, many European companies that were willing to do business with Iran also have facilities in the USA, making it impossible for them to ignore America's laws.

The Iran nuclear deal is a pact between major global powers including China, the U.K., France, Germany, and Russian Federation, who agree that harsh economic sanctions on Iran will be lifted in return for the cessation of the country's nuclear program. In April of previous year, it received another order from Iran's Aseman Airlines for 30 Boeing 737 MAX planes, with an additional option for 30 more planes. Immediately after Trump's announcement, Rouhani ordered his diplomats to engage with their European counterparts.

"The next scenario is that Iran walks away from the deal, and that risks a military conflict", he said in an interview Tuesday.

Even if the Iran sales had happened, Aboulafia said, they wouldn't have significantly changed that outlook. "If the govt. wants to make a contract, they should ask for a guarantee, or else they will all do just as the US did". Siemens AG said, "we look to governments to set the rules and are waiting for further guidance from the worldwide community". The U.N. nuclear watchdog agency has said Iran has not violated provisions of the accord.

The new sanctions might have less effect.

The United States plan to reimpose sanctions on Iran could also spill over to European firms and others doing business in Iran - possibly raising risks for their US access to the much larger USA market.

While the Obama administration had licensed the sales by both Airbus and Boeing to Iran Air in late 2016, the planemakers handled the orders very differently.

While European countries are staying in the deal, Airbus will likely have to pull out of the contract as it needed a US license for the deal since over 10% of parts and labor were provided by USA companies.

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The loophole were also a mile wide: "Mr. Mnuchin said that the USA could give exemptions to countries proving they were significantly reducing their purchases from Iran".

America's on-again, off-again business blockades against Iran weigh heavily on Western companies that plan to do business in that nation of 82 million, best known overseas for exporting petroleum to Europe.

"It's incomprehensible that the activities of German companies should still suffer" given the European Union commitment to the accord, said Erik Schweitzer, the head of the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry, in a statement.

What he doesn't seem to realize is that, whether he wants it or not, Iranians will continue to close deals with companies from other countries. The U.S. aviation firm Boeing also secured a contract, but that is now likely to be abandoned.

The company separately struck a 30-airplane deal with Iran's Aseman Airlines for $3 billion at list prices.

And Western energy companies had resumed weighing possible investments in Iran's large but antiquated fuel industries - even as the hope of improved trade pushed the price of oil so low that the economy of Iran, as in Russia, Venezuela, and other petroleum exporting countries whose policies are also at odds with the US, stalled from the decline in energy-sales income.

"My expectation is not that oil prices go higher", he said.

The pact, worked out by the United States, five other world powers and Iran, lifted sanctions in exchange for Tehran limiting its nuclear program. "Together, we emphasize our continuing commitment to the JCPOA". Fuel prices could go higher if America's European and Asian allies stop buying Iranian crude for fear their companies will otherwise be punished by the USA, according to Molchanov.

"The E.U. can take steps to mitigate the impact of the sanctions, but overall, companies will be scared". The reinstatement of sanctions represents a lost opportunity for Toulouse-based Airbus, Chicago-based Boeing and American plane engine-makers such as General Electric.

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