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State Department Happy With China's Withdrawal From Gas Deal With Iran

U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus. File photo

The spokesperson of U.S. Department of State has welcomed a decision by China’s national oil company CNPC to withdraw from a gas exploration deal with Iran.

Morgan Ortagus tweeted October 6, “Chinese company, and more than 100 others, have made the wise decision to stop doing business with Iran. It's not worth exposing your assets to U.S. sanctions.”

CNPC and France’s TOTAL were both committed to develop Iran’s South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf waters; the largest gas field in the world. TOTAL pulled of the deal immediately after the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear agreement in 2018, but CNPC’s continued participation had remained unclear.

On October 6, Iran’s oil minister Bijan Zanganeh announced China’s national petroleum company is pulling out of the $5 billion deal.

CNPC became the dominant investor in plans for the expansion of South Pars, the world’s largest gas field, after France’s Total withdrew from the project in August 2018.

China along with Russia is one of the biggest diplomatic backers and economic partners of Iran. The decision to pull out of the South Pars deal is seen as a major setback in Iran’s efforts to confront U.S. sanctions.