One day after France disclosed some details about its proposal to reduce tensions with Iran, Tehran reiterated that it will return to its nuclear deal commitments only if it gets to sell $15 billion worth of oil in the remaining months of 2019.
On September 3 French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Dorian said that France has proposed a $15 billion credit line for Iran “guaranteed by oil” but the plan depends on U.S. acquiescence.
Fars news agency, affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards quoted Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi (Araghchi) as saying, "Our return to the full implementation of the nuclear accord is subject to the receipt of $15 billion over a four-month period, otherwise the process of reducing Iran's commitments will continue.”
"Either Europe has to buy oil from Iran or provide Iran with the equivalent of selling oil as a credit line guaranteed by Iran's oil revenues, which in some sense means a pre-sale of oil," Araqchi added.
Iran depends on oil exports to finance the major part of its government operations and investments. U.S. sanctions have brought oil sales to a standstill and Tehran has been mainly relying on its foreign currency reserves to survive, since the U.S. imposed oil sanctions last November after its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement.
To get out of the predicament, Iran announced in May it will reduce its commitments to the accords and increased uranium enrichment, both in quantity and purity.
The French proposal can provide some relief for Iran. The amount proposed would come close to Iran’s oil exports before U.S. sanctions and it is hard to see how Washington will agree to it unless there is a clear road map ahead for talks.
Araqchi confirmed the difficulty in reaching an agreement saying there were still "serious disagreements on the agenda" of any future talks between Iran and its nuclear deal partners.