French trade delegation to visit Iran next month

PARIS Wed Jan 15, 2014 3:45pm EST

PARIS Jan 15 (Reuters) - A delegation of some of France's biggest companies will visit Iran next month to seek business as relations thaw with western powers, the head of the employers' union said on Wednesday.

International sanctions on Iran are set to be relaxed in return for curbs on its nuclear activity under a deal Tehran struck last year with the United States, France, Russia, Britain, China and Germany.

The prospect of an easing of trade restrictions has whetted the appetite of French firms eager to win back business in a country where some used to have extensive operations.

The French Medef bosses' association has organised the visit for Feb. 2-5, its president Pierre Gattaz told a news conference, confirming a report about the trip in the Wall Street Journal.

Gattaz declined to say which companies were sending executives, but the newspaper said they included GDF Suez , Alstom, Veolia Environnement and Safran.

Former French ambassador to Iran Francois Nicoullaud told Reuters that French firms that operated in Iran before the sanctions wanted to return.

He cited Renault, PSA Peugeot Citroen, Airbus Group, Credit Agricole, Societe Generale and BNP Paribas.

Peugeot and Renault already sent executives to Iran for an automotive conference last year.

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