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U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has told his French counterpart a trip to Iran by French executives was "not helpful" and that it gave the wrong impression that the West could do business with Tehran as usual, a U.S. official said.
Iran welcomed more than 100 executives from France's biggest firms on Monday, the most senior French trade mission in years.
Under an interim deal reached by Iran and six world powers in November, Tehran agreed to limit parts of its nuclear work in return for the easing of some international sanctions.
The deal called for negotiation of a full agreement within a year. The easing of sanctions, which began in late January, has prompted Western firms to race for business opportunities.
"Secretary Kerry has talked directly to Foreign Minister (Laurent) Fabius about the trade delegation ... about how this is not helpful," Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman told U.S. lawmakers in Washington on Tuesday.
"Tehran is not open for business because our sanctions relief is quite temporary, quite limited and quite targeted," she said.