08/21/2018, 09.42
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Total abandons Iran’s South Pars project. Zarif: the United States 'sick' with sanctions

With the introduction of new sanctions, the French energy giant is leaving the 4 billion dollar mega-project. Chinese CNPC, already a partner, ready to take over. The Iranian Foreign Minister slams Trump administration, excluding direct talks in the future.

Tehran (AsiaNews / Agencies) – Energy giant Total has officially left Iran, putting an end to speculation about participation in the final phase of the South Pars hydrocarbon project.

The confirmation comes from the Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh,  who says the decision is linked to US President Donald Trump’s pulling out of the 2015 nuclear agreement (the JCPOA) and introduction of the toughest sanctions in history  on companies and countries that collaborate with Iran.

"Two months ago," he explains, “Total informed the government that it does not intend to conclude phase 11 of the work on the new mega-energy plant”. Zanganeh adds that procedures have already been launched to replace the French giant and complete a project worth a total of about 4 billion dollars.

Total was part of a consortium of which it held 50.1% of shares, followed by the Chinese CNPC (with 30%) and the local Petropars (19.9%). Analysts and experts believe the absorption of quotas by the Beijing energy giant is likely to make it over 80% of the project leader.

Meanwhile, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, interviewed by CNN, speaks of a "disease" widespread in the United States, the "dependence on sanctions". Even during the previous Obama administration, adds Tehran's chief of diplomacy, the emphasis was on sanctions still in place rather than "enforcing their obligations".

Zarif is convinced that the nuclear agreement can be kept alive, despite the fact that the United States has already given up the first part of new sanctions. The US government, he adds, has not yet understood that these measures are useless in bringing about change the political climate in Iran. "The sanctions - he concludes - cause economic difficulties, but they do not bear fruit at a political level". He ended by excluding any possibility of future talks with the Trump administration.

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