EU Working on Political Deal for Iran Energy Contracts

EU Working on Political Deal  for Iran Energy ContractsEU Working on Political Deal  for Iran Energy Contracts

The European Union is working on a political agreement that would set the stage for future energy deals in Iran, two people with direct knowledge of the talks said.

The agreement could be signed as soon as November, they said, asking not to be identified because the talks are private. The accord would pave the way for any talks on specific contracts in the future and would come only after the nuclear deal reached in July between Iran and world powers enters into force, the people were quoted as saying by Bloomberg.

Europe is seeking new supplies of energy to reduce its dependence on imports from Russia, which provides 27% of the gas consumed in the region. In a policy paper last year, the European Commission, the executive arm of the 28-nation EU, said that countries such as Iran could contribute to that goal.

The deal would cover five areas: oil and natural gas contracts, renewables and energy efficiency, power markets, energy infrastructure and direct investment in Iran’s energy industry.

In Tehran, both the government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht and the Oil Ministry did not return calls on Thursday.

In Brussels, the European Commission said in a reply to questions that it “will explore areas of bilateral cooperation, including on energy” once the nuclear deal is in effect. For now, it’s focusing on preparatory work for launching a dialogue on energy with Iran “when the conditions are right”.

The EU banned Iranian oil imports in 2012 and imposed extra curbs on the country’s energy industry to persuade the government in Tehran to allow greater scrutiny of its nuclear program. Before the sanctions, EU oil imports from Iran accounted for about 6% of the total.