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Iran wants $15 billion credit before peace talks with US and EU, for missed oil sales

From left, Head of Mission of People's Republic of China to the European Union Hailong Wu, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, European Union High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarifat, an unidentified Russian official, British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. (U.S. State Department/Released)
September 23, 2019

Iran has laid out a series of conditions to precede any negotiations of a new nuclear agreement, including a $15 billion credit for missed oil sales.

On Monday, the Iranian state-run Islamic Republic News Agency reported Foreign Minister Javad Zarif’s calls for a $15 billion credit to be extended through December, at which point Iran requested $3 billion in monthly credits thereafter.

“That was one way for the French—not just the French, but the European Union—in order for them to come back into compliance with the JCPOA,” Zarif said, referring to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Zarif’s comments suggested France and the European Union had failed to comply with their side of the agreement.

Along with the proposed credit for missed oil sales, Zarif said Iran wants to continue in the oil market.

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“It also wants to be able to sell its oil and access the revenues made from oil sales,” he said.

In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from what he called the “defective” deal with Iran. That decision followed prior moves in October 2017, decertifying the agreement over claims Iran violated their side of the deal.

“The Iran deal was supposed to contribute to regional and international peace and security. And yet, while the United States adheres to our commitment under the deal, the Iranian regime continues to fuel conflict, terror and turmoil throughout the Middle East and beyond,” Trump said at the time the deal was decertified.

Part of the Iran deal involved a U.S. commitment to curtail sanctions in exchange for Iran to limit its nuclear development. Trump said Iran violated the “spirit of the deal” through its support of various terror groups like al-Qaida, the Taliban, Hezbollah, Hamas; a claim Iran has denied.

The U.S. has reinstated economic sanctions on Iran and even signaled for new ones last week, after Iran’s alleged involvement in an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities.

Zarif’s latest comments denounced U.S. sanctions and efforts to block Iranian oil sales as “economic terrorism.” He signaled hope to undermine U.S. leverage over the country’s economy by appealing to France for relief.

“The credit is in lieu of the oil [the French] were supposed to buy,” Zarif said.

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Zarif criticized France’s apparent deferral to the U.S. for advice, following Zarif’s requests.

“When we went and discussed all of that and [France] thought—and we respect their decision, but that does not relieve them of [their] legal obligations—that [they] needed to get some green light from the U.S.,” Zarif said.

In June of this year, diplomats of the countries still committed to the Iran deal, including Iran, France, Germany, Britain, China, and Russia met in Vienna, Austria to discuss a way forward for the agreement.