Iran and France economic relationship after JCPOA

[BBC Persian report about the economic relationship between Iran and France after JCPOA.]

 Reporter: During last weeks of nuclear talks, while the then French foreign minister was acting tough in the public and had taken the nuclear deal as hostage, big French companies were lobbying for future contracts with Iran, close to that place of nuclear talks. Two weeks after implementation of JCPOA, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani entered Paris after visiting Rome, along with a big economic delegation.

Hours later, some of the biggest post-JCOPA contracts were signed – from agreement with Airbus to Peugeot. This process has continued during past two years. One of the biggest contracts after JCPOA is the contract for developing Phase 11 of South Pars gas field, in which the main partner is Total of France. This contract is worth $5 billion. During past months, on the one hand, Total has been lobbying with Americans to make this contract an exception in case sanctions return.

On the other hand, it insists that it will respect laws of those countries in which it has activities, including the U.S. Even though Airbus is a European company, France is one of its main partners. A contract for 100 Airbus aircrafts has been signed between both parties, but so far only 3 aircrafts have been delivered. If JCPOA collapses, this $20 billion contract will be its biggest victim.

French Renault has signed an automobile contract with Iran, worth 660 million euros, for increasing the capacity of annual production of this country to 350,000 automobiles. Previously, French Peugeot had signed a 400-million-euro contract for joint production of 200,000 automobiles. France Alstom has signed an agreement with Iran worth 1.2 billion euros for investing in Iran’s railroad.

List of such agreements between Iran and France is long.

Reporter: In commerce, France is one of the main partners of Iran in Europe. In first 11 months of 2017, France’s export to Iran was over 1.3 billion euros. Instead, France had imported more than 2.1 billion euros, basically oil, from Iran during the same period. In case their relationship deteriorates, Iran must find new customer for this oil.

Reporter: In the bigger picture, the trade between Iran and Europe during past year is estimated at $25 billion, which has grown fast after lifting of sanctions. But the trade between EU and the U.S. is annually more than $1,000 billion – 40 times more than its trade with Iran. If once again EU is placed in a position to choose between Iran and the U.S. and if this choice is based only on trade, it will not be a tough choice.


Amir Payvar, BBC Persian