U.S. sanctions Belarusian company for involvement in Iranian oil sector

10:16, March 30, 2011      

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The U.S. State Department on Tuesday imposed sanctions on a Belarusian energy company for its involvement in Iran's petroleum sector, saying the move aims to add pressure on Iran for its failure to meet its international obligations with regard to its nuclear program.

The department said that it has confirmed that Belarusneft, a state-owned Belarusian energy company, entered into a 500-million- U.S. dollars contract with the NaftIran Intertrade Company in 2007 for the development of the Jofeir oilfield in Iran.

The department announced sanctions on the NaftIran Intertrade Company in September last year and persuaded five major multinational energy companies -- Total of France, Statoil of Norway, ENI of Italy, Royal Dutch Shell of the Netherlands and INPEX of Japan -- to pledge to end their investments in Iran and provide assurances not to undertake new energy-related activity there that may be sanctionable.

"This action on Belarusneft is another application of U.S. sanctions on Iran," the department said, adding that a key element of U.S. strategy focuses on Iran's oil and gas production capacity, "which, as UN Security Council Resolution 1929 recognized, Iran uses to fund its proliferation activities as well as to mask procurement for the importation of dual-use items."

The department said that since President Barack Obama signed the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Divestment Act into law in July last year, Iran's ability to attract new investment to develop its oil and natural gas resources as well as produce or import refined petroleum products has been "severely limited."

Source: Xinhua
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