Baku, Azerbaijan Feb. 16
By Dalga Khatinoglu – Trend:
An official with the US Department of State has briefed Trend on the White House policies on Tehran amid hot discussions inside Iran over oil major Total’s decision to postpone a significant deal in the Islamic Republic.
It appears that the French giant has suspended a decision on investment in Iran’s gas sector due to concerns over President Donald Trump’s approach towards sanctions on the Middle Eastern country.
The US Department of State official, who asked to remain anonymous, said in an exclusive interview with Trend that Washington continues to implement its commitments concerning the nuclear deal, aka Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), but non-nuclear sanctions on Iran will remain in place.
"The JCPOA is limited to Iran’s nuclear program, and the United States continues to implement its commitments under the JCPOA. Meanwhile, we have always been clear that we will continue to enforce sanctions that remain in place outside the United States’ commitments under the JCPOA. The United States retains the authority to respond to Iran’s support for terrorism, human rights abuses, destabilizing activities in the region, and its ballistic missile program," the Department of State official added.
The CEO of France’s Total Patrick Pouyanne said Feb. 9 that the company plans to make a final investment decision on a $2 billion gas project in Iran by summer, but the decision hinges on the renewal of US sanctions waivers.
Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has said that the country’s Foreign Ministry will be in charge of diplomatic aspects of talks on Total’s plans to enter the Islamic Republic’s oil market.
According to Zanganeh, the French company was expected to take actions in line with the policies of the EU, not the US.
"We will not preview future interactions. What we can say is that we will work positively with Iran when it abides by international commitments while underscoring our commitment to counter Iran’s destabilizing activities, including support for terrorist and militant groups," the official further said, responding to a question on the possibility of holding direct talks between high-ranking officials from Iran and the US.