The CMA CGM Benjamin Franklin, an 18,000-TEU leviathan, is docked in Los Angeles, California. She is longer than skyscrapers like the Empire State Building is tall. Photo: Robyn Beck | AFP
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region — A French shipping company, the third-largest in the world, decided to cut ties with Iran just a day after a ministerial meeting of the Joint Commission on the nuclear deal.
"Due to the Trump administration, we have decided to end our service for Iran," CMA CGM chief Rodolphe Saade told Reuters on Saturday.
On Friday, the remaining signatories of the 2015 nuclear deal held a ministerial meeting in Vienna, repeating their commitment
to the Joint Coordinated Plan of Action (JCPOA), yet they failed to find practical mechanisms to bypass US sanctions.
Iranian officials praised
receiving a package from the European Union to keep trade with Iran alive, although, both Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif have expressed dissatisfaction with a lack of "actionable commitments.”
CMA CGM joins a list of several multinational firms which have announced they are leaving the Iranian market since the US withdrawal from the Iran deal on May 9, despite European governments wanting to keep the deal intact.
French petroleum company Total, US-based Shell Oil Company, Russia’s Lukoil, and BCP, Banque de Commerce et de Placements (BCP), the world's largest shipping container line Maersk, and multinational airplane producers Airbus and Boeing are among companies decided to suspend trade with Iran.
South Korea also has halted crude exports from Iran for July, Reuters reported on Friday.
“There was pressure from the South Korean government to halt purchases,” a source familiar with Iranian shipping told the agency. “South Korea overall is lifting zero oil (from Iran) for July loading.”
"More than 50 international firms have already announced their intent to leave the Iranian market, particularly in the energy and financial sectors," senior policy adviser of US Department of State Brain Hook said on July 2.
Over the past two months, the US government has launched a campaign of maximum diplomatic and economic pressure against Iran, targeting its economy.
France and Germany have been the most outspoken signatories in favor of the Iran deal, while British, Russian and Chinese signatories have been more mooted.
A complete list of sanctions is expected to be announced by the United States on November 4. Until then, the EU’s economy and banking system has the opportunity to offer an alternative to the US system.