Cattle exports from Normandy to Iran comes to a grind

Iran, France, U.S., United States, Washington, beef, cattle, exports, sanctions,
Seen in this photo are the Charolais- breed of cows that were set to be exported to Iran. (C) stanze from Flickr

The export of cattle from Normandy to Iran has come to a standstill thanks to U.S. sanctions on Iran. According to a Senator from France, Washington’s economic policy is taking a toll on its European allies.

With the United States re-clamping economic sanctions on Iran, many European companies, including French energy giant Total and carmaker Peugeot, have been forced to back out of investments from Iran.

U.S. sanctions have also blocked the export of live cattle, which underwent a successful trial with Iranian company Seamorgh in 2017, said Nathalie Goulet, a senator from Normandy’s Orne region where the cows were bred.

Although the food and agriculture sectors were not directly targeted by the Trump Administration, nevertheless U.S. sanctions have made banks reluctant to finance deals with Tehran since they are afraid to incur penalties.

Established in 2016 by French agricultural groups with Iran’s Seamorgh, the cattle project was set to see thousands of cows of the Charolais beef-producing breed exported to Iran following a pilot project involving 300 animals in 2017. The entire project has now been put on hold, said Goulet who has been an active backer of the initiative.

“On the one hand, the banks have a lot of concerns. The other reason is that intermediaries in the project have issues,” said Goulet in reference to backing out of Agrial, one of the French partners in the project.

Incidentally, the European Union has pledged to shield European companies in Iran from U.S. sanctions, with the EU’s executive adopting a blocking statute.

The export of cattle from France to Iran were part of a series of agricultural projects that came about after sanctions against Tehran were eased. France being the EU’s largest agricultural producer, it has been particularly focused on boosting the sector and boost ties with the Middle East.

Keen to overhaul its dairy and farming industries, it was a win-win opportunity for both countries.