EU Must Defend Firms against US Iran Sanctions: Macron

A decision by European Union leaders to begin the "blocking statute" process, which aims to neutralize the extraterritorial effects of U.S. sanctions in the European Union, has not stopped companies from pulling out of Iran.

Finnish mining technology company Outotec said USA sanctions would slow down and complicate its ties with Iran but it was too early to say if it would leave.

If Chinese and European companies doing business in Iran experience losses due to unilateral economic sanctions by the United States, the governments in those countries must protect these businesses' legitimate interests.

Tillerson did not mention the president by name but alluded to policies of the Trump administration by decrying those who neglect or ignore long-standing allies or deny that free trade is an engine of global growth.

Macron spoke as the world's largest container shipping firm, A.P. Moller-Maersk, followed the French oil major in saying it would quit Iran, denting EU efforts to save the nuclear accord with Tehran and protect European companies doing business with the Islamic Republic.

Europe's mood is shifting from shock at US President Donald Trump's "America First" agenda to a resolve to close ranks and assert its own position.

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"We've had a vibrant discussion on Iran". The bloc would also discuss WTO-compatible ways to improve reciprocal market access for industrial products including cars to avoid a trade war. She highlighted the importance of deepening economic relations with Iran, including in the area of energy supplies.

The veiled threats did not stop a London-based consortium of worldwide companies striking a deal to develop an oilfield in Iran for 655 million barrels of oil in the southwestern Kernaj field.

"I don't know the exact timing details, but I am certain that we're also going to shut down (in Iran)", Skou said.

The decision came after member states agreed unanimously to stick to the Iran nuclear deal after President Trump's withdrawal.

"Trump despises weaklings", EU Budget Commissioner Guenther Oettinger said on Germany's Deutschlandfunk radio.

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