France’s Foreign Ministry says the country’s companies operating in Iran have brought into effect sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) “very quickly” as commercial pressure mounts against the regime in Tehran.

Lobby group, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) told just-auto it had targeted 12 manufacturers it claims have dealings with Iran at last week’s New York Motor Show, following the announcements PSA Peugeot Citroen and Hyundai have suspended operations in the Middle East country.

The EU has followed a hawkish line adopted by the US and has imposed sanctions on Iran that include a freeze on assets held by the country’s Central Bank.

“From the moment the sanctions were put into place, they were put into place as quickly as possible,” a spokeswoman from the Quai d’Orsay (French Foreign Ministry) told just-auto from Paris. “Businesses have applied them very quickly.”

PSA has considerable business dealings with automaker Iran Khodro (IKCO) for whom it supplies components for the 206 and 405 models. The French manufacturer said business with IKCO accounted for 1.5% of its US$79bn turnover, but it was reviewing operations on a month-by-month basis.

The UK has also been a prime mover behind the imposition of sanctions against Iran with a spokesman for the Foreign & Commonwealth office telling just-auto from London: “The message is clear – Iran cannot ignore the international community.

“The sanctions are not designed to target Iranians in general. It is not [with] the Iranian people we have a quarrel – it is to target the Iranian regime. That includes Iranian banks – the sanctions are designed to put pressure on them.”

Further talks with Iran and the so-called ‘EC+3’ group – the US, UK, France, Russia, Germany and China – are scheduled this month.

UANI CEO Mark Wallace – former US Ambassador to the United Nations – said new PSA partner General Motors “owed it to its investors and customers” to compel the French automaker into ending its business in Iran.

“By doing business directly with the Iranian regime, Peugeot supports the regime’s ability to develop its illegal nuclear weapons programme, support terrorist proxies and repress the Iranian people,” said Wallace.

Iran Khodro was not immediately available for comment.