France says trade mission to Iran is “exploratory” and respects sanctions

PARIS, Feb 5 (KUNA) — France said on Wednesday that a large trade delegation that is visiting Iran is a professional initiative by the Employers’ Federation (MEDEF) and is also only “an exploratory” mission and is respecting international sanctions in place due to the nuclear stand-off with Tehran.
French officials declined to confirm that US Secretary of State John Kerry had called Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius to express some concerns about the French mission to Iran, which numbers over 100 people, including representatives of Total oil company, Peugeot Automobiles and Lafarge construction company.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said Fabius “speaks regularly with his American counterpart to address all subjects on which we are working in close cooperation with the United States.” He did not confirm a specific contact between Kerry and Fabius over the French mission to Iran as had been reported.
Since the six-month nuclear agreement signed between Iran and the international community (P5+1) in January, there is a limited easing of international sanctions on Iran and many countries are gearing up for further opening with that country if a more solid and durable nuclear agreement is reached in June.
Nadal repeated that the visit by the MEDEF delegation is “an initiative by this organisation” and is “exploratory and respects the international commitments of France.” Reports from Tehran said that the French delegation was warmly welcomed by Iranian officials and potential business partners but it remains to be seen what concrete projects will emerge from the talks.[More-KUNA]