Iran Asks EU for Help as Shipping Giant Withdraws for Fear of U.S. Sanctions

Iranian president-elect Hassan Rowhani speaks during a press conference in Tehran on June 17, 2013. Rowhani expressed hope that Iran can reach a new agreement with major powers over its disputed nuclear programme, saying a deal should be reached through more transparency and mutual trust. AFP PHOTO/BEHROUZ MEHRI (Photo credit …

Iran President Hassan Rouhani wants European countries to do more to offset U.S. trade sanctions after one of the world’s biggest cargo shippers announced it was ending ties with the country.

France’s CMA CGM – the world’s third largest shipping container firm – announced that it was quitting Iran in a fresh blow to Tehran’s efforts to keep EU members connected despite the threat of new American sanctions.

The market leader in shipping, A.P. Moller-Maersk of Denmark, said in May that it was pulling out of Iran.

“Due to the Trump administration, we have decided to end our service for Iran,” CMA CGM chief Rodolphe Saade said during an economic conference in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence.

“Our Chinese competitors are hesitating a little, so maybe they have a different relationship with Trump, but we apply the rules,” Saade said.

Iran says it needs more help from Europe to keep alive the 2015 deal it worked out with former President Barack Obama to curb its nuclear program.

U.S. President Donald Trump axed the agreement in May and hit Tehran with a fresh round of sanctions. Washington has ordered all countries to stop buying Iranian oil by November. It has also ordered foreign firms to stop doing business there or face U.S. blacklists.

“European countries have the political will to maintain economic ties with Iran based on the JCPOA [nuclear deal], but they need to take practical measures within the time limit,” Rouhani said on Saturday on his official website.

Some Iranian officials have threatened to block oil exports from the Gulf region in retaliation for U.S. efforts to isolate Iranian oil from global markets.

Last month Rouhani went further when he said the regime would “bring America to its knees” and suggested that half of America’s population is “ashamed of their government.”

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to:



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.