The Nuclear Deal, signed a year ago, in July 2015, saw many international sanctions on Iran lifted in exchange for curbs to its nuclear programme.  While many European countries would like to do business with what they see as “one of the last frontier markets”, Washington still  maintains sanctions regarding Iran’s human rights record and its missile programme.  Therefore, many International banks won’t do business with Iran, because they fear U.S. penalties. 

However, as reported by Iran’s foreign ministry, Børge Brende and Mohammad Javad Zarif signed three “export credit” deals aimed at funding “development and infrastructure projects”.  Brende said, “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,” according to the The Local.  He met with many officials during his one-day visit, including Supreme National Security Council secretary Ali Shamkhani, before leaving for Pakistan.

The Iranian opposition warns that Brende’s visit may be used “for propaganda purposes and to justify its repressive policies at home and its support for international terrorism and Islamic extremism.”

Shahin Gobadi of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) said in a statement provided to The Local, “This trip takes place amid a wave of mass executions in Iran. Just today [Wednesday, ed.] the regime carried out five public executions,” and added, “The notion of moderation under [President Hassan] Rouhani is a total myth, and all the factions of the regime are in consensus regarding human rights abuses and export of terrorism,” Gobadi added. “The regime’s human rights abuses and its appalling record should be addressed publicly and explicitly during this trip.”