Norway opens $1-billion credit line for Iran

Norway opens $1-billion credit line for Iran
Iran says Norway has offered the Islamic republic a $1-billion credit line following a meeting between their foreign ministers in Tehran.

2 min read
18 August, 2016
The foreign ministers meeting took place in Tehran this week [AFP]
Norway offered Iran a $1-billion credit line after a foreign ministers meeting, Tehran claimed on Wednesday.

Norwegian Foreign Minister Borge Brende and his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif signed three "export credit" deals aimed at funding "development and infrastructure projects", Iran's foreign ministry said in a statement.

"After the lifting of sanctions, good opportunities have emerged for cooperation and Norway is ready to utilise the post-deal situation to expand cooperation in various fields," Brende said, according to the official IRNA news agency.

The Norwegian minister met other top officials during his one-day visit, including Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, before leaving for Pakistan.

In May, Western powers said foreign investors should not hold back from conducting legal business with Iran, after Iranian officials complained that the United States had yet to deliver its side of the nuclear deal.

International banks and businesses were encouraged to begin laying the frameworks for setting up businesses in the Islamic Republic, said the European Union, the United States, France, Britain and Germany in a joint statement.

"We will not stand in the way of permitted business activity with Iran," the powers said.

"And we will not stand in the way of international firms or financial institutions engaging with Iran, as long as they follow all applicable laws," the statement added.

A historic nuclear deal signed under the Obama administration last year allowed the relief of some sanctions on Iran in return for a halt to its nuclear programme.

But despite the end of some sanctions, European banks have remained cautious to step in, fearing prosecution in the United States.

The recent statement by the Western parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) gave business the green light.

The Obama administration has been criticised by Republicans at home for what they describe as a hasty move, allowing Iran to return to the international fold after agreeing to nuclear controls.

Tehran has complained that the US oversold dreams of a sanctions-free Iran, arguing that they upheld their end of the bargain in surrendering most of their nuclear enrichment capacity in return for sanctions relief.