France said on Thursday that the European companies should reduce their investments in Iran and not seek new markets there.
President Nicolas Sarkozy's spokesman said such measures were being considered because it could take time for the U.N. Security Council to agree on tougher sanctions against Tehran.
The proposed European recommendations that companies scale back business in Iran could be introduced outside of the U.N. framework and without an agreement by all 27 European Union members, said the spokesman, David Martinon.
"They are recommendations which we hope each European Union state would address to their companies which are present or which envisage having a presence in Iran," he said at a news briefing.
Under the proposal, European companies would be asked to "at least not pitch for new markets in Iran," and financial institutions recommended to reduce their investments there, he said.
A new U.N. sanctions resolution "could take time. It is therefore for this reason that we are thinking of additional measures," said Martinon.
He said France hopes that all EU nations would take up the recommendations with their companies "and we are not the only ones who wish for that." He would not name the other countries which he said backed the proposal.