Iran urges Europe to act as US threats to reimpose oil sanctions

Ann Santiago
August 22, 2018

The United States has an "addiction to sanctions", Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said in an interview with CNN.

The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran after Washington withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers.

On May 30 the U.S. places several Iranian state groups on its sanctions blacklist, accusing them of serious human rights abuses and censorship. "Unfortunately I was wrong", he said.

Europeans' measures to save Iran's 2015 worldwide nuclear deal should "go beyond declarations to take pragmatic steps", Mohammad Javad Zarif said.

"Iran relies mainly on its own capabilities to overcome America's new sanctions", Ghasemi told a news conference broadcast on state TV. "This project waiver should include protection of the Company from any secondary sanction as per USA legislation".

"We are hopeful that the European countries can meet their commitments, but even if they cannot, we are seeking solutions to sell our oil and transfer its revenue", Eshaq Jahangiri was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

French oil and gas company Total has officially left the contract with Iran to develop the South Pars oil field in southern country, a senior Iranian government official was quoted as saying in a media report.

The oil minister had earlier stated that a Chinese company would take over the South Pars project.

Zangeneh said a "process" was under way to replace Total with another company.

After the US withdrawal from the Iran deal, Total said that would not be in a position to continue the South Pars 11 gas project and would have to unwind all related operations before November 4, 2018, "unless Total is granted a specific project waiver by the USA authorities with the support of the French and European authorities".

Efforts by the remaining signatories - European Union members Britain, France and Germany plus China and Russian Federation - to avoid the agreement's collapse are struggling as Washington has said any firms dealing with Teheran will be barred from doing business in the United States.

Total said in May that its actual spending to date with respect to this contract was less than 40 million euros.

China also faces challenges supplying equipment such as large-scale compressors needed for developing the giant gas project, as leading manufacturers could be barred from supplying to Iran under USA sanctions.

Iran's currency has been in steady decline since the start of the year as the country anxiously awaits the re-imposition of full USA sanctions, trading at record lows and losing almost two-thirds of its value against the dollar.

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