Major European oil buyers are queuing up to meet Iranian officials as they jostle to re-establish a strong position with Tehran in anticipation of a full lifting of the Western sanctions.
Even as the United States and its Western allies try to hold the line to maintain tough sanctions, executives from European oil firms, among them France's Total and Italy's independent refiner Saras, have visited Tehran in recent weeks, industry sources say, for talks with the National Iranian Oil Co (NIOC), Reuters reported.
Tehran is confident that a thaw in relations with the West has opened a door to revive suspended oil trade with Europe as early as the end of this year, sources directly involved in the talks said.
"Everybody is preparing for serious negotiations with Iran, pending the removal of sanctions," a senior Iranian oil official told Reuters. "We've already had lots of interest from our traditional customers in Europe."
On January 20, Iran and the six powers started the implementation of the historic nuclear deal which the two sides struck in the Swiss city of Geneva on November 24, 2013.
After endorsing the agreement with the world powers, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif underlined that the six world powers have recognized Iran’s enrichment program.
As part of the deal, in exchange for Iran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the six world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran.