EU diplomats are “getting behind” a proposal initiated by France to provide Tehran with economic relief from US sanctions “in return for its full compliance” with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), The Wall Street Journal quoted unnamed sources as saying.
The sources claimed that the plan, which aims to reduce tensions between the US and Iran, was discussed during French President Emmanuel Macron’s meeting with US counterpart Donald Trump on the sidelines of the G7 summit in Biarritz late last week.
The plan specifically stipulates allowing Iran to sell about 700,000 barrels of oil per day, and also providing the Islamic Republic with a $15-billion loan.
While Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif reportedly described Macron’s offer as “productive”, Trump has yet to outline his position on the matter, according to the sources.
Tehran Says US ‘Flexibility’ on Iranian Oil Sales a ‘Breach in US Maximum Pressure’ on Iran
This comes as Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi was quoted by the country’s state news agency IRNA as saying that Washington is making flexible steps related to Iranian oil sales.
“Macron met with […] Trump during the G7 meeting and the US side has shown some flexibility in the licensing of Iranian oil sales. This is a breach in the US maximum pressure policy and a success for Iran’s policy of maximum resistance,” Araqchi said without elaborating. Both French and US officials have yet to comment on the matter.
The statement comes after Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif pledged that Tehran “will revert” to its commitments under the JCPOA immediately if its European signatories implement their part of the agreement, regardless of US participation.
He made it clear that Iran’s steps to scale back its obligations “can be reversed within hours” if the nuclear deal's European signatories, including France, the UK, Germany and the European Union, make good on their promises to work to find ways to take the sting off US sanctions following Washington's unilateral withdrawal from the JCPOA in 2018.
Rouhani Gives European Signatories More Time to Save JCPOA
Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Tehran would give other JCPOA signatures two more months before proceeding to “the third stage” of exiting its commitments under the deal.
In May, on the one year anniversary of the US's withdrawal from the deal, Iran announced that it would begin gradually suspending its obligations under the JCPOA until its other signatories, including Russia, China, and the European powers could find a way to save the accord.
In particular, Tehran wants the European signatories to find mechanisms to bypass the US’ anti-Iran sanctions, which have driven most of Iran's traditional major crude oil customers to halt purchases, putting major pressure on the country's economy.
In a separate development in May, the US delivered its aircraft carrier task force and additional troops to the Persian Gulf, in a “direct message” to Iran, in what further deteriorated Washinton-Tehran tensions, which were also fuelled by Iran’s subsequent downing of a US spy drone and a spate of tanker seizures.