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Hollande says French investors who visited Iran made own choices; sanctions still in effect

WASHINGTON - French President Francois Hollande is pushing back against criticism about French businessmen who visited Iran last week.

Iranian businessmen welcomed more than 100 potential investors from France in hopes of reviving economic ties amid the easing of some sanctions. Such visits have stoked concern that Tehran is open for business even though most sanctions remain in effect during an interim nuclear deal.

Hollande says he is not president of the French employer's union and he doesn't want to be. He says companies make their own travel decisions.

But Hollande says he told the businessmen that sanctions remain in effect and no commercial agreements can be signed without a long-term, comprehensive nuclear deal.

Hollande spoke at a joint news conference with President Barack Obama at the White House.

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