Most French firms ‘won’t be able to stay’ in Iran: France’s finance minister

French oil group Total has already indicated it is unlikely to stay in the country after the new sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump. (AFP)
Updated 19 June 2018
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Most French firms ‘won’t be able to stay’ in Iran: France’s finance minister

PARIS: Most French companies hoping to keep doing business in Iran after the US imposes new sanctions on the country will find it impossible to do so, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said Tuesday.
These companies “won’t be able to stay because they need to be paid for the products they deliver to or build in Iran, and they cannot be paid because there is no sovereign and autonomous European financial institution” capable of shielding them, Le Maire told BFM television.
The new sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump in May after he pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran would punish any foreign firm operating in Iran which also does business with the US or in dollars.
“Our priority is to build independent, sovereign European financial institutions which would allow financing channels between French, Italian, German, Spanish and any other countries on the planet,” Le Maire said.
“It’s up to us Europeans to choose freely and with sovereign power who we want to do business with,” he added.
“The United States should not be the planet’s economic policeman.”
Le Maire and his EU counterparts have been trying to secure exemptions for their firms, many of which rushed back into Iran after the landmark accord curtailing Tehran’s nuclear program.
But French oil group Total and carmaker PSA have already indicated they are unlikely to stay in the country, while Renault has said it will remain despite the sanctions — though it does not sell its cars in the US.
Analysts have warned it would be nearly impossible to protect multinationals from the reach of the “extraterritorial” US measures, given the exposure of large banks to the US financial system and dollar transactions.
The first round of the new sanctions, targeting Iran’s auto and civil aviation sectors, are scheduled to go into effect on August 6.


South Korean ex-leader sentenced to 8 more years in prison

Updated 24 min 29 sec ago
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South Korean ex-leader sentenced to 8 more years in prison

SEOUL, South Korea: A South Korean court on Friday sentenced former South Korean President Park Geun-hye to an additional eight years for abusing state funds and violating election laws.
She now faces the prospect of more than three decades behind bars. She’s already serving a 24-year prison term over a massive corruption scandal that led to her removal from office last year.
Seoul Central District Court on Friday found her guilty of causing substantial losses to state coffers by unlawfully receiving about 3 billion won ($2.6 million) from chiefs of the National Intelligence Service during her presidency and sentenced her to six years in prison.
However, she was found not guilty of bribery charges related to the money transfers. The court said it was unclear whether the spy chiefs sought or received favors in return.
The court separately sentenced Park to two years in prison for breaking election laws by meddling in her party candidate’s nomination ahead of the parliamentary elections in 2016.
She didn’t appear in court.
While Park’s prison term currently adds up to 32 years, this could change, and potentially get even longer, depending on rulings of appeals courts. Following the earlier ruling in April, prosecutors appealed Park’s 24-year term on charges including bribery and abuse of state power and are now demanding 30 years in prison. The Seoul High Court will rule on the case on Aug. 24.
Following protests by millions, South Korean lawmakers impeached Park on December 2016. She was formally removed from office following a ruling by the country’s Constitutional Court in March last year and was arrested weeks later.