Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced over the weekend that Iran and the European Union are very close to finalizing negotiations on a major oil trading deal. Zarif said there was growing enthusiasm for the deal, which if completed would be the most overt rejection of US sanctions and threats.
Last week, the European Union unveiled a plan to open a closing house that would allow trade with Iran to bypass US banking sanctions. This plan was centered on the idea of an oil trade, with oil purchasers giving money to the clearing house, which would pass it on to other EU companies to pay them for goods and services provided to Iran.
EU officials seem to have become increasingly interested in the oil deal since the plan was announced, as it now seems that EU leadership is committed to resisting US sanctions, and has set up a means to do so.
The US has demanded that the world take down Iran exports to zero. China buys the majority of Iranian oil, and will continue to do so. A deal with the EU is likely to ensure that Iran’s oil exports can remain strong despite US threats.