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Iran's Oil Minister says information on Statoil scandal 'insufficient'


Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has lashed out at the Norwegian officials for refusing to disclose crucial evidences demanded by Iran over the alleged link of certain Iranian officials to a recent bribery controversy in Norway's oil giant Statoil company, IRNA reported from Tehran on Saturday quoting the local press.

The English-language newspaper 'Iran Daily' quoted Zanganeh as saying that his ministry has not yet come across any evidence relating to the alleged financial corruption in its cooperation with Statoil. He has said that he would not make any comments on the details of the controversial case until the Iranian delegation, that had been to Norway to investigate the issue, submits its final report to the government.

Norwegian police, 'Iran Daily' stressed, are currently examining whether Statoil used a consulting contract of 15 million dollars to bribe certain Iranian officials and gain access to Iran's giant gas field of South Pars, the world's largest gas field without oil.

Asked why the Oil Ministry does not hold itself accountable to the public with regard to the high-profile case, Zanganeh said he needed further information about the sensitive issue.

The press on Monday quoted MP Nouroddin Pirmoazzen as saying that the Majlis will impeach the oil minister if the reported bribery by the Norwegian oil company Statoil to an Iranian firm is proved.

Pirmoazzen told the press that the Majlis had been shocked over the reports of a wave of top official resignations in Statoil in connection with an alleged bribery of 15 million dollars to an Iranian company, stressing that this has made the MPs to consider summoning Zanganeh to the chamber.

"Mr. Zanganeh will definitely break his silence before the representatives of the people," Pirmoazzen said, adding that the MPs are waiting to hear Zanganeh's explanations on the issue, and that the oil minister will be impeached if the alleged bribery to the Iranian company is proved.

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