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Total pulls out of $4.8 billion Iranian oil project under US pressure



Iran oil
general view shows a unit of South Pars Gas field in Asalouyeh
Seaport, north of Persian Gulf, Iran.


  • French Oil company Total announced it will exit Iran on
  • The news comes after the US applied pressure on foreign
    firms doing business with Iran.
  • “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing
    business with the United States,” President Donald Trump said
    on August 7.
  • Other European countries have also announced their
    withdrawal from the country, including shipping giant Maersk
    and car maker Peugeot.

Total, France’s largest energy company, has pulled out of a large
Iranian energy project under pressure from the United States.

The Iranian oil minister announced the withdrawal of Total from
the country on Monday, RT
DW reported

“Total has officially left the agreement for the development of
phase 11 of South Pars [gas field],” Iran Oil Minister Bijan
Namdar Zanganeh said, according to government-run ICANA news
agency and RT.

The withdrawal was sparked by a reinstatement of US sanctions
which cover foreign firms doing business with the Tehran.
President Donald Trump tweeted earlier this month: “Anyone doing
business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United

Total said in
a statement given to DW:
“Total has notified the Iranian
authorities of its withdrawal from the contract following the
60-day deadline for obtaining a potential waiver from the US
authorities. Despite the backing of the French and European
authorities, such a waiver could not have been obtained.”

Total had committed to work on the South Pars gas field, which
borders Iran and Qatar and holds the largest natural gas reserves
in the world. The project is worth $4.8 billion.

Other European firms including Maersk and Peugeot have also
recently left Iran, despite pledges from EU officials to shield
them from the US sanctions.

In May, EU officials said they would enforce a “blocking statute”
which was planned to protect European firms from sanctions.

“As the European Commission, we have the duty to protect European
companies. We now need to act, and this is why we are launching
the process to activate the ‘blocking statute’ from 1996,” EU
Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said before his July
meeting with President Trump.

The US withdrew from the nuclear deal they signed with Iran in
2015. The agreement had lifted crippling sanctions on Iran in
return for a commitment from the Islamic Republic to abandon its
nuclear enrichment programme. But the US has since reinstated
sanctions on Iran.

The EU, China, and Russia condemned the US sanctions and said
they would only recognize an agreed mandate form the United

China is defying the sanctions, continuing its trade with Iran
and importing around 767,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day, giving
the country a lifeline and keeping China’s needs for oil met,
Reuters reported.

The US sanctions came back into force on August 7 on cars, gold,
and other metals. A second round is due to take effect on
November 4 which will be more severe, targeting oil, shipping,
and the Iranian Central Bank.

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