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Swiss Company Irks with Multibillion-dollar Deal with Iran


Swiss Company Irks US with Multibillion-dollar Deal with Iran; EU wants gas pipe from Iran
By: Fars News on: 19.03.2008 



TEHRAN (FNA)-

Swiss energy trading company EGL has signed a multibillion dollar contract to buy natural gas from Iran's national gas producer over the next 25 years, the Swiss company announced Monday.

According to the contract, the National Iranian Gas Export Company will supply about 5.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas to EGL per annum starting from 2009, which will later be sold to European consumers.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said the deal is worth between 28 billion US dollars and 42 billion dollars. But EGL spokesperson Bogdan Preda said the company would not disclose the concrete figure.

The US government immediately told the Swiss embassy in Washington that the contract is "sending a wrong message" to Iran, as it went against the spirit of the UN sanctions, the Associated Press reported.

But the Swiss government argued that the contract is "totally in line with international laws and UN resolutions."

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said when attending the signing ceremony of the contract that the deal is a major step forward in diversifying power supplies to Europe.

Despite US pressures, different European countries are showing growing interest in increasing trade with Iran.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran's independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington's push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one on Friday - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seemed to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East last month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush's allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush's attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

http://farsnews.com/english/newstext.php?nn=8612280148


Solana Terms Iran Fundamental to Nabucco Project

TEHRAN (FNA)-

The EU foreign policy chief has described Iran as fundamental to the Nabucco gas pipeline to Europe from the Middle East and Central Asia.

Javier Solana said on Sunday the nuclear issue was the most important aspect of the European Union (EU) relations with Iran but it did not mean that other areas of cooperation should be neglected, Itar-Tas news agency reported.

Nabucco is planned to be a 3,300-kilometer pipeline running from the Caspian Sea via Turkey and the Balkan states to Austria.

The project, supported by the EU, is estimated to cost about seven billion Euros, but it is still unclear whether the pipeline can be filled with the necessary amount of natural gas. The EU is trying to engage Iran and Iraq's gas-fields in the project as well.

The pipeline is expected to transport some 31 billion cubic meters a year of natural gas to the EU from the Middle East and Asia to reduce the bloc's reliance on Russian supplies.

The UN has imposed a third round of sanctions against Iran's uranium enrichment, which Tehran says is solely intended to generate electricity.

The sanctions, imposed under US pressure, are aimed at overshadowing Iran's economic ties with other countries.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran's independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington's push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran's programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head - one in November and the other one in early March - which praised Iran's truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seemed to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran's cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran's nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East last month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush's allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush's attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

http://farsnews.com/english/newstext.php?nn=8612270308


Nabucco is the European Union's flagship natural gas pipeline project, explicitly designed to reduce European dependence on Russian natural gas. Its prospective route will take natural gas from Iran, Iraq and Turkmenistan and ship it across Turkey and up through the Balkans to Austria.

Nabucco envisions Iran as a potential source of natural gas, something that could prove unrealistic if France's recent efforts to levy not only U.N. sanctions but also EU sanctions on Iran move forward.

http://www.stratfor.com/hungary_change_heart_nabucco


Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari here Wednesday assured that it would not be possible to put Nabucco gas pipeline into operation without Iran, dismissing it as uneconomical. "If Nabucco pipeline comes on stream, Iran will be the sole option for supplying its gas as the country is the world's...


 



 

 
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