Iran General NewsFlorida governor cancels Brazil meeting over Iran ties

Florida governor cancels Brazil meeting over Iran ties

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Reuters: The governor of Florida, who is on a trade mission in Brazil, canceled a meeting with executives of the state energy company Petrobras on Thursday because of its business dealings with Iran. SAO PAULO, Nov 8 (Reuters) – The governor of Florida, who is on a trade mission in Brazil, canceled a meeting with executives of the state energy company Petrobras on Thursday because of its business dealings with Iran.

Gov. Charlie Crist denounced Iran as a terrorist regime in a statement posted on the Florida state Web site and said support for the Islamic republic was a threat to the United States and allies like Israel.

“We will continue to follow the moral and prudent path by not doing business with companies that sponsor terror and by setting an example for all other states and nations,” he said.

Florida passed legislation in June requiring the state’s pension fund to end investment in companies doing business in Iran and Sudan and urged other U.S. states to follow.

Companies have been told they have until September 2008 to end those ties or face divestiture.

Crist’s chief of staff, George LeMieux, met Petrobras executive manager Samir Passos Awad in Rio de Janeiro to explain Florida’s position.

Awad said Petrobras had limited dealings with Iran but he offered no guarantees they would end next year. Petrobras has some exploration activities in Iran.

Senior Petrobras executives announced earlier the company had discovered a giant crude reserve of up to 8 billion barrels, which sent its shares soaring. A spokesman said at the time CEO Jose Sergio Gabrielli had no scheduled meetings with Crist.

The administration of President George W. Bush has growne increasingly strident in its criticism of Iran, accusing it of harboring ambitions to make a nuclear bomb and supporting terrorism.

Crist, a Republican, is in Brazil to improve bilateral trade. Brazil is already Florida’s leading partner — and promote biofuel use.

(Reporting by Angus MacSwan)

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