PARIS - France pledged on Friday to push back against the threat of US sanctions against French companies doing business with Iran, in the wake of Washington's withdrawal from the international nuclear agreement with Tehran.
The French government is seeking waivers and longer transition periods from the United States for companies such as Renault and Total, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said, while pressing for European Union measures to improve the bloc's "economic sovereignty" in the longer term.
"It's time that European countries opened their eyes," Le Maire said on Europe 1 radio.
President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal risks exposing European countries that have since invested in Iran to renewed US sanctions after "wind-down" periods of three to six months expire.
Europe needs new "financial instruments allowing it to be independent from the United States," Le Maire said.