Israel authorities have reacted angrily to Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne's assessment that investing in "complex" Israel is not worth the risk due to the tough regional competition.
Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz, for his part, claimed that all companies unwilling to inject funds into Israel are living in the "past decades".
"I reject it with two hands, I think this is a miserable view. We will consider our reaction to this as it is totally unacceptable to boycott [Israel]," he said.
Steinitz praised a spate of international firms, including Google, Lockheed Martin and Boeing, for pumping money into Israel, adding that companies that "were afraid" of investing in the Jewish state "made the wrong calculation".
"If somebody is avoiding investing in Israel because it might have interests in Iran then that can be the only reason, because the Arab world is not concerned," he claimed.
Steinitz's remarks come after Total chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said in an interview with the Financial Times that it was too "complex" to invest in Israel, noting that his company’s relationships with other Middle Eastern countries was a sticking point.
"We like complex situations […] up to a certain point. Let's be clear," he stressed, adding that the potential rewards for investing in Israel are not big enough to accept the risks due to the tough competition in the region.
In early October 2018, Pouyanne said that there was no possibility of Total resuming work in Iran because the US' anti-Iranian sanctions threaten the firm.
On 8 May, US President Donald Trump announced Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also pledging to reintroduce a spate of economic sanctions against the Islamic Republic.