Dubai - One of the world's biggest cargo shippers announced on Saturday it was pulling out of Iran for fear of becoming entangled in U.S. sanctions. Same day KLM airline announced suspending its flights to Iran.
The world's third largest shipping container group, the French-owned CMA CGM, has decided to withdraw from Iran over the threat of US sanctions, its chief executive said Saturday.
"Because of the Trump administration, we have decided to end our service to Iran," Rodolphe Saade told an economic conference in Aix-en-Provence in southern France.
"Our Chinese competitors are hesitating a bit, so they may have different relationships with the Trump administration."
In 2016 the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines allowing it to lease spaces for vessels, operate joint shipping lines and cooperate on the use of port terminals.
While the Royal Dutch Airlines announced also on Saturday that it will suspend its direct flights to Tehran, delivering another blow to Iran’s struggling economy.
The Dutch airline KLM said in a statement: “As a result of the negative results and financial outlook for the Tehran operation, the last flight will take off from Amsterdam on September 22, 2018 and land at Schiphol on September 23.”
In June, French carmaker PSA Group suspended its joint venture activities in Iran, and French oil major Total said it held little hope of receiving a U.S. waiver to continue with a multibillion-dollar gas project in the country.
European countries which still support the nuclear deal say they will do more to encourage their businesses to remain engaged with Iran. But the prospect of being banned in the United States appears to be enough to persuade European companies to keep out.
"European countries have the political will to maintain economic ties with Iran based on the JCPOA (the nuclear deal), but they need to take practical measures within the time limit," Rouhani said on Saturday on his official website.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh called the tension between Tehran and Washington a "trade war". He said it had not led to changes in Iranian oil production and exports.
US President Donald Trump announced in early May the unilateral withdrawal of the US from the landmark Iran nuclear deal and the reinstatement of sanctions against the country, as well as against foreign companies who do business with it.
Washington said the sanctions would be immediate for new contracts and gave companies already working there up to 180 days to cease trading.
With inputs from AFP