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February 22, 2019

French shipping firm drops Iran over US sanctions threat

French shipping firm drops Iran over US sanctions threat
'CMA CGM operates in 160 countries and has a fleet of 494 vessels' - By: AFP/File Robyn BECK

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.

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.

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