Renault is shaping up to be the latest French company to fall victim to Donald Trump's renewed sanctions on Iran -- even if it doesn't sell cars in the United States.
Iran operations are likely to be put on hold to comply with U.S. sanctions, Renault Chief Operating Officer Thierry Bollore told analysts during a conference call about earnings Friday.
"We are looking to new business opportunities, particularly in Africa, with strong growth to offset the missed opportunities in Iran," he said.
Renault's French rival, PSA Group, which makes Peugeot and Citroen cars, also suspended its push in the country after the U.S. canceled a 2015 nuclear accord with the Islamic republic.
French energy companies Total and Engie also are planning to to pull out of Iran.
Renault has no presence in the U.S., but its alliance partner, Nissan Motors, in which Renault owns a majority stake, sells vehicles there.
Renault had been reviewing options, aiming to keep at least a small presence in the Persian Gulf country, like it did after the previous round of sanctions, CEO Carlos Ghosn had told shareholders last month.
Renault signed an agreement last year with Iran's Industrial Development and Renovation Organization and local dealer Parto Negin Naseh to boost its local production by 75 percent.
The company hadn't yet started manufacturing vehicles or making investments under the deal, according to Chief Financial Officer Clotilde Delbos, but has been producing cars there since 2003 with two other partners.
The U.S. administration this month rejected France's demands for a waiver or exemption for companies seeking to do business in Iran. Even companies with no business ties to the U.S. find it difficult to operate in Iran because banks are reluctant to finance Iranian operations.
Expanding to Iran was already "extremely complicated" due to banks' reluctance, PSA said last month, but was made impossible when Trump decided to pull out of the nuclear accord.
In the first half, Renault's sales in Iran fell 10 percent, for a market share of 8 percent, due to the Iranian central bank policy, Delbos told reporters Friday. She added that Iranian sales would be near zero in the second half.