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May 4, 2015 7:42 pm

State Department Questions Iranian Report of US Oil Delegation Visiting Iran

avatar by David Daoud

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The State Department has questioned a report in Iranian media that a US oil delegation is expected to arrive in Tehran this week. PHOTO: Press TV

The US State Department questioned on Monday a report from Iranian state-run news agencies claiming that a “delegation of oil dealers and investors from the US” were scheduled to arrive in Iran this week to meet with local counterparts.

The report, initiated with Mehr, was also carried by Press TV‘s and even made its way into Al-Jazeera and Reuters.

Questioned on the matter at the State Department’s daily press briefing, acting spokesperson Jeff Rathke said he wouldn’t “speculate about a visit” which “has not even been confirmed and the nature of which is completely obscure right now.”

“It’s hard to verify whether these reports are accurate at all,” he said, “but also we’ve been quite clear that we don’t consider Iran to be open for business yet, and that if there is any sanctionable activity happening, then we will take action.”

According to Mehr, the Deputy Petroleum Minister of Iran, Abbas Sheri-Moghaddam, “confirmed the news and predicted more cooperation with US big companies and refineries on Iran’s oil and gas projects after the removal of sanctions.”

“It is predicted that, following the visit by the American delegation to Tehran and possible removal of sanctions against the oil industry, we will witness the presence of major international US oil and gas companies in Iran in future,” he reportedly said.

The report added that Sheri-Moghaddam also announced that other European and American companies had stepped forward to participate in “new petrochemical projects in Iran.”

When asked about the legal restrictions in place on American companies investing in, or doing business with, Iran, Sheri-Moghdaddam reportedly suggested a mechanism for American companies to bypass the restrictions for investments in the Iranian petrochemical industry, saying, “There is no limitation for foreign investment in the country, because when these companies want to invest in Iran, they should first register an Iranian company which can operate in Iran without facing any limitation.”

Golnar Motevalli, a reporter for Bloomberg news from Iran, tweeted that Iran’s state-run petrochemical company said that Mehr’s report was based on an interview Sheri-Moghaddam had given to SHANA, but that he never said that a US oil delegation would arrive in Iran this week.

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  • Mickey Oberman

    Who is kidding whom?

    Second only to Obama’s love of Islam are US oil companies in love with oil from their Middle Eastern enemies.

    They wont use their own country’s oil nor will they use Canada’s oil.
    They cite pollution as their reason not their investments.

    I wonder how much pollution a massive oil tanker creates as it laboriously moves its poisonous cargo from the middle east to US ports and discharges its fouled bilges in mid ocean..

  • John Glueck

    Now we know what is a likely motive for our government’s willingness to once again look the other way when dealing with a monstrous evil entity … profit.

  • Harvey Lloyd

    Greed will triumph and Obama will be very rich when he leaves.

  • Stuart

    The Iranians long ago proved they can play the Obama-Kerry team, and now they’re doing it with the oil companies.

    If this report is accurate, then Obama has already lifted sanctions, at least for those companies prepared to make contributions to his campaign warchest. If not, then Iran has provided Obama with evidence that they cannot be trusted. Let’s see which is the case.

  • nelson marans

    Are we really so stupid that we do not realize that with our soft words on the current negotiations that will lead to a flawed agreement we have already broken the back of any sanctions that were imposed on Iran. Furthermore, if the president and State Department believe that sanctions can be reimposed, they are mistaken. We have opened the Iranian can of worms.

  • Fred

    After all Kerry has expressed his admiration for the chief Mullah Khamenei so it was an encouragement for the US delegation to visit Iran. They may get to view a hanging for good measure.

  • Joel

    Who can believe the State a department did not know about this or did not turn a blind eye.
    Obama and his cronies are so transparently duplicitous. And worse, believe no one can see through their artifice. Arrogance redefined !