French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said the European Union should compensate European companies that might face sanctions by the United States for doing business with Iran.

In a televised interview on May 20, Le Maire said EU rules dating back to 1996 could allow the EU to intervene in this manner to protect European companies against any US sanctions, adding that France wanted the EU to toughen its stance in this area.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, when the US tried to penalise foreign companies trading with Cuba in 1996, the EU forced Washington to back down by threatening retaliatory sanctions.

European firms doing business in Iran face sanctions from the US after President Donald Trump withdrew from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.

“Are we going to allow the United States to be the economic policeman of the world? The answer is no,” Le Maire told C News TV and Europe 1 radio on May 20.