Japan faces US pressure over deal with Iran

A Japanese consortium continued to negotiate with the Islamic republic over a $2 billion deal to develop Iran’s southwestern Azadegan oil field, a Japanese foreign ministry official said on Monday.

    Iranian President Mohammed
    Khatami's government holding
    talks with Japanese officials

    However, Japanese officials refused to say whether the deal was close to being signed.


    “The negotiations is still ongoing. We are also communicating with the United States over the matter”, said an oil official with the Japanese agency for natural resources and energy.


    Japan is under US pressure to suspend its talks with Iran as part of a policy to push Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, the Financial Times has reported.


    Earlier this month, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh said a $2 billion for the oil field could be signed with a Japanese consortium by early July.


    Asked whether Washington had pressured Japan to stop pursuing the deal, the foreign ministry official said: “I can’t say whether there have been any or not”.


    The United States accuses Iran of using its civilian nuclear programme as a covert to develop nuclear weapons.


    Iran has come under pressure from the international community, including the European Union, to sign an additional protocol to the Nuclear non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).


    The additional protocol allows UN inspectors to make surprise visits to the country’s nuclear sites.


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