Japan builds Iran oil links before U.S. sanctions end
A high level Japanese government delegation is visiting Iran this week for talks about the country’s future energy relationship. Iran is Japan’s third-largest oil source of oil, and the country is keen on consolidating its preferred status in Tehran before the expiry next year of the United State's Iran-Libya Sanctions Act, which penalizes non-American companies doing business in Iran.
The new talks are considered especially important in light of the fact that a Japanese oil developer lost a concession in Saudi Arabia's Neutral Zone in February. Officials in Tokyo blamed the loss of the contract on Japan's weak bargaining position with Saudi Arabia, which is Japan's second largest source of oil after the United Arab Emirates.
Japan reportedly is also eager to improve ties with Iran because of concern that China will increasingly compete for Iran's oil business. China is building five 300,000-ton supertankers for Iran after winning the $370m contract last year, according to China's Xinhua News Agency. This came a severe blow to Japanese ship builders.
If the talks in Tehran this week are successful, they could lead to a visit to Tokyo later this year of Iranian President Mohammed Khatami. – (Albawaba-MEBG)
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)