Iran has rejected an offer of a $15 billion European loan in return for the country's commitment to the nuclear deal, the National Iranian Television reported on Wednesday. The report quoted unidentified sources saying: "Iran refuses to receive a $15 billion loan, rather as a price for its oil."
The loan was part of a European effort led by France to persuade Iran to commit to the nuclear deal fully.
However, the Iranian rejection of the loan coincided with President Hassan Rouhani's announcement that Iran "will take the third step toward reducing its nuclear obligations soon," on Wednesday morning.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araghchi, said Tehran would "stick to full compliance with the nuclear deal only if it was able to sell its oil and enjoy the proceeds of those sales without hindrance."
Western and Iranian sources have revealed that France is proposing to provide credit lines worth around $15 billion to Iran until the end of 2019 in return for Tehran's fully complying again with the nuclear agreement concluded in 2015. This proposal depends on Washington's non-opposition to it.
Iran and three European countries (France, Germany and Britain) are trying to sustain the nuclear deal after the US unilateral withdrawal last year, re-imposing economic sanctions on Iran, and imposing other sanctions within the framework of the policy of maximum pressure on Tehran.
On Monday, an Iranian delegation, including officials belonging to both oil and financial sectors, discussed in Paris the details of the credit lines through which Iran will be given a stimulus from the effects of US sanctions.
Tehran has urged European signatories to the nuclear deal to react to protect Iran against US sanctions since Washington withdrew from the agreement in May 2018.
Following its withdrawal, Washington imposed economic sanctions on Iran and foreign companies related to Tehran, prompting some companies, mainly European, to abandon their investments in Iran.
Trying to protect some sectors of the Iranian economy against comprehensive US sanctions and maintain the nuclear deal with Tehran, France, Britain and Germany have established a mechanism known as the "INSTEX".
The three European countries are trying to convince Iran to stick to its commitment to the deal and curb its nuclear program, helping it avoid US trade sanctions and hoping the INSTEX mechanism will be able to meet the legitimate funding criteria set by the Financial Action Task Force's (FATF) based in Paris.