US Businesses Demand End of Sanctions against Iran
A coalition of US businesses, agriculture groups and trade associations on Monday asked the administration of US President Bill Clinton to lift sanctions against Iran to allow US businesses access to Iran's markets.
"American companies are prevented by executive order from participating in Iran's oil program," Frank Kittredge, vice chairman of the USA-ENGAGE coalition and president of the National Foreign Trade Council, said in a statement.
"Meanwhile, foreign companies are under no such restriction and can operate in Iran with relative impunity."
Because of the high price of oil and potential gasoline shortages in the United States, open trade channels with Iran are critical, according to the coalition.
The second greatest producer in OPEC, Iran pumps 3.7 million barrels of oil per day, with 2.4 million destined for export.
One company particularly interested in the lifting of sanctions against Iran is Conoco, which has maintained a dialogue with the Iranian oil industry in preparation for the return of US oil companies to Iran.
"Conoco continues to comply with the sanctions and no agreement or understanding has been signed," company spokesman Carlton Adams said Monday, to quell rumors Conoco had circumvented the sanctions and was doing business in Iran.
Adams said Conoco's British affiliate had analyzed documents furnished by Tehran about seismic conditions in oil fields in Azadegan, in southwestern Iran, and found there was "enormous potential" for oil there.
"We think it would be in the best interests of the United States" to participate in the development of the Iranian petroleum industry, he said.
Under the law which took effect in August 1996, the United States imposed sanctions on foreign companies which deal with Libya or Iran in the field of oil and natural gas and have investment contracts exceeding 400 million dollars in one year – WASHINGTON (AFP)
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