PARIS (Reuters) – France will start offering euro-denominated credits to Iranian buyers of its goods later this year, a move to bolster trade while keeping it outside the reach of U.S. sanctions, the head of state-owned investment bank Bpifrance said.
France and other European countries have been looking to increase trade with Iran since Paris, Washington and other world powers agreed in 2015 to lift many economic sanctions in exchange for controls on Iran’s nuclear program.
The plan is to offer dedicated, euro-denominated export guarantees to Iranian buyers of French goods and services. By structuring the financing through vehicles without any U.S. link, whether to the currency or otherwise, the aim is to avoid the extraterritorial reach of U.S. legislation.
The move could anger U.S. President Donald Trump, who has threatened to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement reached by his predecessor Barack Obama. Washington has maintained some financial restrictions, leaving private banks – even those based outside the United States – wary of financing deals.