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Total project delay irks Teheran

DUBAI

Iran’s oil minister has criticised French oil company Total for its decision to delay signing a contract to develop a gas field in southern Iran, saying that the reasons given by Total’s CEO were “unacceptable” to Teheran.

Total was the first Western energy company to sign a major deal with Teheran since the lifting of sanctions with its South Pars 11 project in the Gulf to develop a part of the world’s largest gas field that Iran shares with Qatar.

Total’s chief executive, Patrick Pouyanne, said last week that it aimed to make a final investment decision on the $2 billion project by the summer, but the decision hinges on the renewal of sanctions waivers. “I don’t know why Total has said so,” Bijan Zanganeh siad. “It’s been included in the contract that we all follow European Union’s policies. Their comments are unacceptable,” he added.

Trump has called into doubt the Western powers’ deal with Iran over its nuclear programme and, responding to an Iran’s ballistic missile test last month, imposed fresh sanctions on Teheran.

Agencies