France's finance minister says Europe isn't US 'vassal,' should trade with Iran

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire

It asked Europe's Airbus plane manufacturer to announce whether it will go ahead with a deal to sell Iran dozens of passenger planes following the US pullout.

The US says firms have six months to halt business and can not enter into new contracts or they will face sanctions.

Still, British Prime Minister Theresa May on Friday reiterated her support for the Iran nuclear deal and agreed with Trump that talks were needed to established how US sanctions would affect companies operating in Iran.

In an interview with Le Parisien, Mr Le Drian said: "We feel that the extraterritoriality of their sanction measures are unacceptable".

"The State of our Union is as strong as Europeans want it to be", she said, expressing regret that support for the EU among Europeans is falling in some countries.

He said the new sanctions regime would also affect the U.S. and that Europeans would "put in place the necessary measures to protect the interests of our companies and start negotiations with Washington" on the matter.

Zarif's statement puts pressure on U.S. European allies and other parties to the deal to find a way to keep it alive despite Trump's efforts to ice it, said Suzanne Maloney, an Iran analyst at the Brookings Institution.

Oil was poised for a second weekly gain as traders anticipated the supply impact of renewed United States sanctions on Iran and continuing tensions in the Middle East.

"It's time that European countries opened their eyes", Mr Le Maire said on Europe 1 radio.

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"Do we want to be vassals deferring with a curtsy and a bow to decisions made by the United States so that the USA polices the world economy?" He said France, together with other European partners, "hopes to present proposals to the European Commission which go in this sense".

"The PM said the United Kingdom would continue to work with the U.S. to keep up the pressure on North Korea to denuclearise".

Which companies could be affected?

Aside from Airbus, they include French oil giant Total and the auto makers Renault and Peugeot.

Iran had been able to safeguard its oil industry against such threats over the past few years, Zangeneh was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency. But so far only three planes have been delivered, with industry sources blaming delays on the wariness of banks to finance business with Tehran.

Peter Altmaier, Merkel's economy minister, said Germany plans to stick to the deal, but there's little he can do to prevent German businesses from following possible American sanctions to protect their interests in the U.S.

He told reporters: "There is no place in the world that feels very clearly the malignant influence of Iran as much as in Syria".

The two leaders condemned the Iranian rocket attacks against Israeli forces earlier this week.

"He introduced a new element, the element of leverage to a stale, non-productive reality that only encouraged the Iranians to continue their incredibly risky behaviour, particularly in Syria, by threatening Israel by surrounding it with missiles and expecting us to sit there and just wait until something happens".

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