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Europe can save nuclear deal with credit line or by persuading US to grant oil export sanctions waivers says Tehran

Tehran’s latest standpoint on the future of the nuclear deal is that Europe can save it either by persuading Washington to restore sanctions waivers for Iran’s oil exports or by arranging a credit line for the Islamic Republic. Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, outlined the position in an interview with state TV on August 29.

The options, according to Araghchi, have been presented to French President Emmanuel Macron during several recent phone calls with Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani. Macron has been active in exploring how to prevent Iran abandoning the 2015 nuclear accord, which the US unilaterally walked out of in May 2018 as President Donald Trump opted to switch to a heavy sanctions regime designed to wreck Iran’s economy to the point that Tehran comes to the table to accept a stricter agreement. Iran, France, Germany, the UK, Russia and China remain signed up to the existing deal but Iran says its trade and investment spheres have received so little protection from US sanctions from the signatories—and particularly from Europe’s major powers who the Iranians had most pinned their hopes on—that remaining part of the accord will soon not have any real value.

“What Mr Rouhani has told Macron is that if Europe wants to preserve the nuclear deal then they must establish our ability to sell oil,” Araghchi said, referring to the US policy in existence since May that aims to drive Iranian oil exports to zero. “There are two options or solutions—one is for them to go to the Americans and get waivers again for oil buyers so they can buy oil from Iran, or if they cannot do that, they themselves should buy that level of oil, using a credit line.”

Iran, meanwhile, has again dismissed the idea of talks with Washington while Trump remains outside the deal and sticks with his “economic war” against Tehran. On a visit to Kuala Lumpur, Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the Americans should "buy a ticket which gets them full compliance to the nuclear agreement" if they want negotiations with Iran, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency reported, citing Malaysian television.

Iran has lately made some moderate breaches of the nuclear deal. Araghchi said the country will restore full compliance once it can sell oil and have unhindered access to its oil revenues.

Earlier this week, Trump said he would support an idea backed by Macron of extending what he called a “letter of credit” to Iran, secured by oil, to help the country meet short-term financial obligations.

Compliance with the nuclear deal, which aims to keep Iran’s nuclear development programme purely civilian, is supposed to protect Iran from heavy sanctions.