EU State Signs Biggest Credit Deal With Iran as US Decision on Sanctions Looms

© REUTERS / Alessandro BianchiProtestors cast their shadows over an European flag during a pro-EU demonstration as European Union leaders meet in downtown Rome, Italy, March 25, 2017
Protestors cast their shadows over an European flag during a pro-EU demonstration as European Union leaders meet in downtown Rome, Italy, March 25, 2017 - Sputnik International
Despite the United States' criticism of the Iran nuclear deal, the European Union is sticking to the agreement, confirming that it is working.

Iran and Italy have signed a credit agreement, providing financing to industrial and development projects in the Islamic country, including those in infrastructure, construction, oil and gas, electrical energy, and the chemical, petrochemical, and metallurgical industries, Italy's Economy Ministry stated, adding that Iran will provide a government guarantee to the contract.

According to the ministry, the deal totals to €5 billion ($6 billion) and was concluded in Rome between the Bank of Industry and Mine, the Middle East Bank of Iran, and Invitalia, an investment arm of an Italian state holding.

Commenting on the contract, Mohammad Khazaei, president of the Organization for Investment, Economic and Technical Assistance of Iran (OIETA), described it as the biggest ever credit deal with a European bank, proving the EU's determination to expand economic ties with Tehran.

"This is the biggest credit agreement ever signed between Iran and a European country which is a very important political and economic development at the current juncture," Khazaei stated, as quoted by Iran's IRNA news agency.

"It shows the determination of the European Union in working with Iran at the current juncture — which will be beneficial to all."

Italy is following the trodden path of similar agreements, signed between Iran and a number of European banks within the last several months: with Austria's Oberbank, Denmark's Danske Bank, Russia's Eximbank and French Bpifrance (BPI).

Iran Nuclear Deal

Despite the United States' expected decision on extending the Iran sanctions waiver, as the US State Department announced on January 9, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini reiterated the bloc's commitment to the deal on January 11.

READ MORE: US Treasury to Impose New Sanctions on Iran

The diplomat has stressed the EU expectations from all parties of the deal to comply with it, noting that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had confirmed Tehran's compliance with the deal in nine reports.

READ MORE: EU Confirms Iran Nuclear Deal Works as US Faces Deadline for Sanctions Waiver

A similar position has been voiced by French President Emmanuel Macron during his phone talks with his Donald Trump, who confirmed the country's commitment to the agreement, saying, however, that there should be "a strong dialogue on the ballistic program of Iran and its regional politics."

READ MORE: Macron Stressed Commitment to Iran Nuclear Deal in Conversation With Trump

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