News ID: 204581
Published: 0307 GMT November 19, 2017

Zanganeh: Only UNSC sanctions can force Total out

Zanganeh: Only UNSC sanctions can force Total out

Iran said the French energy giant Total — that won a deal to develop a key gas project in the country — can quit only if forced to do so as a result of United Nations Security Council sanctions.

Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh was quoted by Press TV as saying that deal determined the conditions by means of which the French company could quit the project to develop Phase 11 of South Pars energy zone.

"The agreement with Total is binding and the company cannot withdraw from the project under ordinary conditions," Zanganeh said.

"It can only withdraw from the project if international sanctions are imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council."

Zanganeh further said speculations about the withdrawal of Total from South Pars Phase 11 were a result of a 'negative media campaign' by certain groups that could benefit if the French company did so.

"There are even some who mistranslate the news of Total's presence in Iran merely to create anxiety," he was quoted as saying.

In early July, Total signed an agreement worth $4.8 billion on the development of South Pars Phase 11 in cooperation with China's CNPC and Iran's Petropars.

Iran said in early November that it had issued required work permits for foreign employees of the French energy giant thus setting in motion the start of the development project.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné was also quoted by the media as saying that his company was moving ahead with a plan to develop South Pars Phase 11. Pouyanné nonetheless underlined that his company would have to revisit the deal with Iran if the US re-imposes sanctions against the country.

US President Donald Trump's refusal last month to endorse the nuclear agreement with Iran and his threat to levy new sanctions on the country has thrown the future of the deal into doubt.

For now, Total is awaiting a US Congress decision on whether the Iran nuclear agreement is in line with the American interests, Pouyanne said last month.

Trump has threatened to terminate the pact and if Congress agrees, Iran could be placed under renewed sanctions.

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