Iran Economy NewsIran Guards pull out of giant gas field

Iran Guards pull out of giant gas field

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Reuters: Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards will not be involved in developing Tehran’s part of the world’s largest gas field, said a senior gas official on Monday.

By Ramin Mostafavi

ASSALUYEH, Iran, July 19 (Reuters) – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards will not be involved in developing Tehran’s part of the world’s largest gas field, said a senior gas official on Monday.

“Khatam al-Anbia has pulled out of developing all phases of the South Pars gas field,” Mohammad Hassan Mousavizadeh told reporters. Khatam al-Anbia is an engineering and construction arm of the Guards.

The Guards, hit by sanctions imposed by the United Nations and the United States, has played a growing economic role in the Islamic Republic since hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first took office in 2005.

Mousavizadeh did not make clear why Khatam al-Anbia pulled out of the project.

“The withdrawal was not because of financial problems of the Guards … it will not create any problems for the development of the field,” the official said.

After Norway’s Kvaerner pulled out, development of phases 15 and 16 of South Pars were handed over to Khatam al-Anbia in 2006.

In May the group also signed an agreement to develop three other phases of South Pars, the world’s largest reservoir of gas.

The Security Council resolution passed in June blacklisted 15 firms belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

Mousavizadeh said the withdrawal will not delay the project.

“The implementation of the development project will not be delayed … any company that can not finish the project on time will be replaced,” he said.

Foreign countries are investing in the field, but sanctions have caused Western companies to treat Iran with caution.

The West suspects Iran aims to develop nuclear weapons but Tehran says it only wants to generate power.

In 2007 Washington branded the Guards proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and said in June it will sanction international banking institutions involved with the Guards.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by William Hardy)

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