The Petroleum Minister of Iran, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh made an announcement that the Islamic Republic remains willing to negotiate oil and gas deals with US enterprises despite the continued hostility shown to the country and the nuclear deal by American President Donald Trump, Mehr News Agency reported on October 17.
“We are prepared to negotiate with American corporations on developing petroleum and gas resources. Mr Trump does not need to feel so concerned about this,” the minister said following a meeting with South Korean Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport Kim Hyun-mi.
There is some concern among US investors that Trump’s position on Iran, and threats to scrap the nuclear deal if Congress does not find a way to change it to his liking, means that, unchallenged by American competitors, European, Russian, Chinese, South Korean and other investors have poured into Iran to strike deals for the ‘low-hanging fruit’. US giant Boeing, meanwhile, would like clearance to sell many billions of dollars worth of airliners to Iran, but has so far not received the green light from Washington, DC given the fraught state of affairs between the Iranians and Americans.
Iran has the fourth highest oil reserves and second highest gas reserves in the world and, because of the cheap feedstock such resources provide, can produce highly competitive petrochemicals.
Zanganeh emphasised that it is only Trump barring the way to American hydrocarbon companies that might like to examine opportunities in Iran opened up by the nuclear deal which came into effect at the start of 2016 after Tehran agreed to an inspection regime that blocks its path to a potential nuclear weapon in return for the dropping of sanctions that crippled its oil, gas and other export-orientated industries.
Trump’s opposition to normalising trade and investment relations with Iran is opposed by almost every country in the world except for Israel and Saudi Arabia and some wags even claim the president is the only person in the White House who is opposed to the nuclear deal. In fact his own Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Pentagon chief Jim Mattis have suggested staying in the accord is currently in the national interest of the US.
However, while Trump remains opposed to the nuclear deal, and particularly if he moves to scrap America’s commitment to it, there is no prospect of the US dropping its refusal to countenance transactions with Iran being made in dollars.
To get around this Seoul and Tehran only trade in euros.
South Korea has allocated a credit line of some €20bn to develop projects in Iran and for the purchase of hydrocarbon exports from the country.