A United States Congress decision on the Iran nuclear deal could clarify Washington’s stance on the international accord and lead to a positive outcome for Total and its planned $5 billion Iranian gas project, its CEO said on Wednesday. Congress has two months to decide whether to reinstate sanctions on Iran after U.S. President Donald Trump last week refused to formally certify that Tehran was complying with the nuclear agreement hailed by his predecessor Barack Obama as key to stopping Iran from building nuclear weapons. The deal was also signed by China, France, Russia, Britain, Germany and the European Union. Total was the first Western oil major to sign a deal with Iran to develop phase 11 of Iran’s South Pars, the world’s largest gas field. A decision to reinstate sanctions on Iran could jeopardise the project.
Pouyanne has said Total would withdraw from Iran if obliged by law. “There is an ongoing process in the United States. Congress has to make a decision. What is good with this process is that there is going to be a clarification of the position of the United States,” Pouyanne told journalists on the sidelines of an oil conference in Paris. “Who knows, perhaps it could be a clarification that would be positive. I don’t think there is a majority in the U.S. Senate that wants to abolish the deal.”