François Hollande (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
In a joint press conference with French President Francois Hollande in Washington on Tuesday, Obama said “Businesses may be exploring: ‘
Are there some possibilities to get in sooner rather than later if there is an actual agreement to be had?”
“They do so at their own peril right now, because we will come down on them like a ton of bricks,” Obama threatened.
A 116-delegation of French businessmen travelled to Tehran from February 3 to 5 to explore trade opportunities in light of the prospect of sanctions relief on Iran following last month’s implementation of a nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers -Russia, China, France, Germany, the US and the UK.
Hollande acknowledged that he could not control travel by French firms, but noted that anti-Iran sanctions will remain in effect before a final deal is reached on Iran’s nuclear issue.
“So companies just make their decisions when it comes to traveling, but I certainly let them know that sanctions were in force and would remain in force,” Hollande said.
The French delegates, which visited Iran, represented various sectors of its industry including its banking, telecommunications and shipping sectors.
France’s oil giant Total, oil and gas services provider Technip as well as GDF Suez voiced their readiness to invest in Iran as soon as sanctions are lifted.
Under a landmark deal with six world powers, Iran agreed to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities as a confidence-building measure, and the world powers undertook to provide Iran with some sanctions relief and release more than USD 4 billion of Tehran’s oil revenues.