The Latest: Macron won't take sides over trade with Iran

Friday, 18 May 2018 22:50 Written by  Read 11 times
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Macron said Thursday in a news conference in Sofia, Bulgaria: "We're not going to choose one camp over another. We're not going to be the allies of Iran against the United States of America."

Commenting on the decision of French oil and gas group Total to stop a multibillion-dollar project in Iran unless it is granted a waiver by U.S. authorities, Macron said he wants to provide all guarantees for businesses that want to stay in Iran to be able to do so.

He added: "We're not going to impose on French businesses to stay in Iran. The President of the French Republic in not the CEO of Total."

Macron said he was convinced that the U.S. decision will benefit Russian and Chinese companies in Iran.

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4:25 p.m.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is signaling it won't be feasible to offer wide-ranging compensation to European companies affected by U.S. sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

President Donald Trump last week withdrew the U.S. from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, but European signatories vowed to salvage it. Merkel said Thursday after EU leaders met in Bulgaria that "all European Union member states still stand by this agreement."

But she was cautious about possible compensation for companies that do business with Iran. She said that "we can see whether we can give small and medium-sized companies certain relief. That is being examined."

However, Merkel added: "As for compensating all businesses in a comprehensive way for such measures by the United States of America, I think we cannot and must not create illusions."

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