Iran News ...


7/8/03

Japan envoy in Tehran to 'consult' on nuclear non-proliferation

Japan is sending a Foreign Ministry delegation to Tehran to discuss with Iranian officials a host of issues, mainly on nuclear non-proliferation, Embassy of Japan said in Tehran on Monday, IRNA reported.

In a press release, a copy of which was sent to IRNA, the embassy said Yukia Amano, director general for arms control and scientific affairs at the Japanese Foreign Ministry, will hold discussions on 'disarmament and non-proliferation' on July 12.

Amir-Hossein Zamani-Nia, the head for international and political affairs at the Foreign Ministry, will represent the Iranian side at the negotiations, it added.

"The consultation will cover a wide range of issues in the area of disarmament and non-proliferation. The Japanese side looks forward to discussing with the Iranian side issues such as nuclear non-proliferation," the embassy said.

The Islamic Republic and Japan held their first consultation on the subject in Tokyo in September 2000.

The visit comes amid reports that the United States was exerting pressure on the Japanese government to withdraw from a large-scale Iranian oil program.

The move is part of a broader US policy to persuade Iran to halt its suspected nuclear weapons program and sign an agreement to allow inspections at all its nuclear facilities, Financial Times recently said, citing an unnamed US State Department official.

A US State Department official confirmed that Washington was pressing Japan not to send the 'wrong message' to Iran, Financial Times said.

US Secretary of State Colin Powell has raised the issue with Japanese Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi, while the Japanese government is trying to resist the pressure, Financial Times wrote.

Washington accuses Tehran of seeking to use its nuclear program as a cover for producing atomic weapons -- a charge which the Islamic Republic strongly rejects.

Iran says its nuclear program is intended for producing 7,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 20 years, when the country's oil and gas reserves become overstretched.

On Monday, Iran said it reserved the right to enter into negotiations with other oil companies for the development of a giant oilfield after Japan failed to benefit from a preferential right to finalize a deal up to a deadline.

The deadline expired at the end of June and Japan, apparently under US pressure, may lose the right to Azadegan oilfields which is reportedly Japan's biggest oil development scheme, totalling 2.8 billion dollars.

Tehran offered preferential rights to Japanese consortia during President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Japan in 2000 to develop the oilfields, which are said to hold the world's biggest undeveloped oil reserve.

Japan in return pledged to grant a three-billion-dollar credit line to Iran over three years.

"It is clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran reserves the right to enter into negotiations with other world companies after the expiry of the deadline," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi told reporters Monday.

But, he was quick to add that "Japan has not been ruled out yet and Japanese are still continuing negotiations" with Iranian Oil Ministry officials to see if they could hammer out a deal.

"(Iran's) Oil Ministry will finalize a deal with any country or company which it considers viable, but Japan is not a by-gone issue yet and negotiations are continuing," Asefi added.

MP says Japan not officially withdrawn from Azadegan oil deal

Chairman of Majlis Energy Commission Hossein Afarideh said in Shiravan, in the northeastern province of Khorasan, on Tuesday that Japan has not officially withdrawn from a major oil deal to develop Iran's Azadegan oil field, IRNA reported.

"Despite US pressure, Japan has not yet officially declared that it has withdrawn from the deal, although certain media reports confirm that Tokyo is considering to do so," Afardideh told IRNA.

He added that it is only the Japanese government that will suffer if Japan backs out of the deal, arguing that Tokyo will lose the opportunity to develop Iran's Azadegan oil field.

Afarideh also said that Japan will have to cover the costs for the opportunity that Iran has suffered for negotiating with that country over the lucrative deal.

He further stressed that if Japan withdraws from the bid, the Iranian government can hold an international tender over the field for corporations from other countries.

Azadegan in southwestern Iran is believed to be the most important oil field of the Islamic Republic with an estimated reserve of 26 billion barrels of oil.

Tehran offered preferential rights to a consortium of Japanese companies during President Mohammad Khatami's visit to Japan in 2000 to develop the field.

Japan in return pledged to grant a three-billion-dollar credit line to Iran over three years.

However, a Japanese government spokesman last Tuesday said Tokyo will watch how Iran clears up growing suspicion about its nuclear ambitions before it approves Azadegan deal.

The announcement followed certain media reports that the US was exerting pressure on the Japanese government to withdraw from the large-scale Iranian oil program when the deadline to finalize the deal was due.

The deadline expired at the end of June and Japan, apparently under US pressure, may lose the right to Azadegan oil field which is reportedly Japan's biggest oil development scheme, totalling 2.8 billion dollars.

Accordingly, the Iranian Foreign Minister Kamal Kharrazi told reporters last Wednesday that Japanese companies "can of course continue their negotiations" but would no longer be given exclusive signing privileges.

Also, Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman on Monday said that Iran reserves the right to enter into negotiations with other oil companies for the development of the field.

Washington accuses Tehran of seeking to use its nuclear program as a cover for producing atomic weapons -- a charge which the Islamic Republic strongly rejects.

Iran says its nuclear program is intended for producing 7,000 megawatts of electricity in the next 20 years, when the country's oil and gas reserves become overstretched.

... Payvand News - 7/8/03 ... --



comments powered by Disqus

Home | ArchiveContact | About |  Web Sites | Bookstore | Persian Calendar | twitter | facebook | RSS Feed


© Copyright 2003 NetNative (All Rights Reserved)