Iran’s Oil Minister: Total can leave gas deal just in case of UNSC sanctions

Tasnim– Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the French energy giant Total can leave a multi-billion dollar gas deal with the Islamic Republic only if the United Nations Security Council imposes international sanctions against Tehran.

Speaking to reporters after his meeting with Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Uzbekistan Alisher Sultanov on Saturday, Zanganeh said Iran has a valid legal contract with Total, China’s National Petroleum Company (CNPC) and Petropars.

It has been mentioned in the agreement how the company can leave this project, the oil minister added.

“The Total can leave the project in the event that the UN Security Council imposes international sanctions against Iran,” he noted.

The remarks came as Total Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne recently said that US President Donald Trump’s new aggressive approach to Iran could kill the huge energy investment the French oil and gas major signed with Tehran just four months ago.

“Either we can do the deal legally if there is a legal framework,” Pouyanné told CNN on Monday.

“If we cannot do that for legal reasons, because of (a) change of (the) regime of sanctions, then we have to revisit it,” he added.

He made the comments after Trump unveiled a tough and comprehensive new policy towards Iran last month, accused Tehran of violating the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, and announced that he would no longer certify the accord.

Total became the first Western oil major to sign an agreement with Iran to develop phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars, the world’s largest gas field. Total is the operator of the $5 billion project with a 50.1 percent stake.

Iran and the Group 5+1 (Russia, China, the US, Britain, France and Germany) reached the 159-page nuclear agreement in July 2015 and implemented it in January 2016.

Since the historic deal was signed in Vienna, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has repeatedly confirmed the Islamic Republic’s compliance with its commitments under the JCPOA, but some other parties, especially the US, have failed to live up to their undertakings.