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Europeans don't want Iran banks cut off from global economy: French senator

Philippe Bonnecarrere (R), president of France-Iran Friendship Group speaking in Tehran [Getty]

Date of publication: 22 October, 2018

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Philippe Bonnecarrere made the remarks in Tehran on Sunday as Europe seeks to salvage the landmark 2015 nuclear accord.

European countries are trying to ensure at least one Iranian bank remains connected to the world economy after a new set of US sanctions takes effect on 4 November, a French senator said in Tehran on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran in May and has been reimposing sanctions on Tehran, seeking to cut off its access to the global finance system. 

Philippe Bonnecarrere said European efforts to help Iran despite US sanctions is "difficult but it's still possible".

One way was "to have at least one Iranian bank remain connected to the international banking system through SWIFT to keep up commercial relations on goods or services that are not subject to sanctions," the French senator added.

Bonnecarrere, who heads the France-Iran friendship group in the upper house of parliament, made the remarks during a news conference with French and Iranian counterparts.

The 2015 nuclear deal was agreed between Iran and the so-called 5+1 group -- UN Security Council permanent members Britain, China, France, Russia and the US, plus Germany.

Bonnecarrere was in Iran with six other members of the French parliament.

The visit was a sign of "all the determination and all the will of France to keep alive the nuclear agreement," said Delphine O, one of lawmakers.

The urgent need for investment to upgrade Iran's dilapidated energy infrastructure as well as becoming more connected to the global economy and finance sector was a key motivator behind its decision to join the 2015 nuclear deal. 

French and other European companies have returned to Iran since the partial lifting of international sanctions in January 2016, when the Iran nuclear deal came into force.

International banks had however hesitated to re-establish financial circuits with Iran, fearing reprisals from Washington which has maintained some economic sanctions against the country.

Before pulling out of the nuclear accord, Trump had repeatedly threatened to rip up the nuclear deal, which was signed under his predecessor Barack Obama.

All partners, including the International Atomic Energy Agency, tasked with inspecting Iran's compliance, agree that Iran has stuck by its commitments.


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