Published On: Tue, Sep 3rd, 2019

Macron risks infuriating Trump as he offers Tehran $15billion to save nuclear deal | World | News


The financial bailout package offered by French President Emmanuel Macron aims at salvaging the nuclear accord after US President Donald Trump withdrew from the pact last year and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran. The $15 billion package would compensate Iran for oil sales lost to American sanctions and would account for about half of Iran’s annual oil exports. But the move would undermine Mr Trump’s hardline approach, having called for “maximum pressure” on Tehran.

The New York Times reported a senior Iranian delegation arrived in Paris on Monday to work out the details of the financial package that would allow Iran to receive hard currency at a time when most of the cash it makes from selling oil is frozen in banks around the world.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves le Drian said talks on the credit arrangement, which would be guaranteed by Iranian oil revenues, were continuing, but US approval would be crucial.

Mr Le Drian said the idea is “to exchange a credit line guaranteed by oil in return for, one, a return to the JCPOA (Iran nuclear deal)…and two, security in the Gulf and the opening of negotiations on regional security and a post-2025 (nuclear program)”.

He added: “All this (pre)supposes that President Trump issues waivers.”

But the bailout is unlikely to be approved by President Trump, with national security adviser John R Bolton already making clear that he opposes such an agreement.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also opposes the move, and said: “This is precisely the wrong timing to hold talks with Iran.”

Without backing from the US, it is not clear whether European banks would risk US sanctions by extending credit to Tehran.

Alternatively, the credit could be extended by the European Central Bank, or France’s central bank, which would be more difficult for Washington to sanction.

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At the meeting, Mr Trump appeared open to the idea of credit lines but US officials later ruled out lifting sanctions as a condition for new talks.

Yesterday’s meeting between French and Iranian officials was to fine-ten deals of the credit lines.

A senior Iranian official familiar with the negotiations said: “France has offered the credit line of $15 billion but we are still discussing it. It should be guaranteed that we will have access to this amount freely and also Iran should be able to sell its oil and have access to its (own) money.

“President Macron is trying hard to resolve the issue and help to save the deal… and we have overcome some issues and narrowed gaps but still there are remaining issues.”

A second Iranian official said: “Although the EU and particularly France have goodwill, they should convince the US to cooperate with them… If not, Iran is very serious about decreasing its nuclear commitments.

“There is no logic to respect the (2015) deal, if it has no benefits for us.”

Iran has said that if the talks fail, it will escalate its nuclear activity starting Friday.



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