PARIS Feb 2 France will have "significant
commercial opportunities" in Iran if sanctions are lifted, but
Tehran first has to prove its good faith in abiding by nuclear
undertakings, Finance Minister Pierre Moscovici said on Sunday.
Moscovici was speaking on LCI television as a French
business delegation travelled to the Iranian capital for
meetings with officials and business leaders.
The three-day visit is intended to "convey the message that,
if the situation improves, there will be significant commercial
opportunities for France in Iran", Moscovici said.
"But the underlying message should be read as an
(encouragement) to the Iranians to keep their word," he said,
adding: "It's a very sensitive dossier."
In return for a pledge by Tehran to freeze key parts of its
nuclear programme, world powers including France agreed in
November to a six-month suspension of sanctions on selected
goods and services. The easing is only now beginning to take
The prospect of a relaxation of trade restrictions has
whetted the appetite of French firms eager to win back business
in a country of around 80 million people where some previously
had extensive operations.
Renault said last week it had resumed shipments of
parts to Iran, and that it expected production of the Tondar, an
Iranian version of Renault's low-cost Logan model, to pick up
progressively throughout the first half of 2014.
Along with French companies in sectors ranging from energy
to food, the carmaker and its domestic rival PSA Peugeot Citroen
are keen to resume business in Iran and reclaim the
significant market share they enjoyed until sanctions were
Over 100 French companies - including both carmakers - are
on the delegation. Media reports have said it also includes GDF
Suez, Alstom, Veolia Environnement
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Editing by Kevin Liffey)