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Iran Keeps Quiet About Oil Contracts Because of Saudis And Israelis

Patrick Pouyanne (L), Chairman and CEO of French energy company Total, meets with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namadar Zanganeh after signing an offshore gas field agreement in Tehran, July 3, 2017

Iran keeps quiet about its oil contracts with foreign companies in order to avoid provoking Saudis and Israelis, oil minister Bijan Zanganeh was quoted as saying.

In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, MP Hossein Naghavi Hosseini quoted Zanganeh as saying, “If Saudi Arabia and Israel find out about Iran's contracts, they will obstruct their finalization.” Iranian oil minister reportedly stated that in a meeting with conservative MPs on Sunday.

Saudi Arabia and Israel are among countries that oppose the nuclear deal with Iran that has enabled Tehran to come back to the oil market and to cut deals with energy companies such as the French giant Total.

According to Zanganeh, Total would withdraw from its recent deal with Iran if the U.N. Security Council imposes new sanctions on Tehran and in such a case, Chinese would take over.

Total announced earlier in July that it had signed a $4.8 Billion agreement with Iran on the development of an Iranian offshore natural-gas field -- the first major Western energy investment since international sanctions were lifted against Tehran under its nuclear accord with world powers.

The deal was criticized by Iranian conservative politicians and the Revolutionary Guard that has a major stake in the country’s economy and wanted to secure the lucrative deal for itself.

Total’s Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne said in an interview with International Oil Daily last week, the company would examine the consequences of Trump’s decision, and if there are any laws that obliges the company to withdraw from the agreement, then it will comply.

U.S. President Donald Trump recently refused to certify that Tehran was complying with the nuclear agreement. The U.S. Congress has now less than 60 days to decide whether to re-impose economic sanctions on Tehran that were lifted under the nuclear agreement.

Zanganeh reportedly has said that Europeans have not been able to impose sanctions on Russia because of Moscow’s $10 billion oil export to Europe and suggested that similarly, Iran should increase its energy export to European countries for the sake of its national security.

“If we have contracts worth of $40 billion with Europeans, their interests would not allow them to impose sanctions on us.”