AFP: The United States on Wednesday warned that it was launching a legal review of a gas deal signed earlier this week between Iran and Switzerland to see whether it violates terms of US sanctions. WASHINGTON (AFP) The United States on Wednesday warned that it was launching a legal review of a gas deal signed earlier this week between Iran and Switzerland to see whether it violates terms of US sanctions.
“We don’t think that now is the time for people to be investing in Iran, not only in its petroleum or natural gas area, but in any sector of its economy,” said State Department spokesman Tom Casey.
“Certainly, in terms of US domestic law and policy, there are implications or potential implications for any kind of arrangement of this sort in terms of the Iran Sanctions Act,” he said.
“And, obviously, as we get more details about this, we’ll be looking at that particular deal in the light of US law and see whether it crosses any lines there.”
US law regarding sanctions on Iran forbids US businesses from any business dealings with foreign companies that have links to Iranian companies.
Iran and Switzerland on Monday signed a major accord for Iranian gas exports to a Swiss firm, in a rare energy deal between Tehran and the West that drew US charges of sending the “wrong message” and Israeli accusations that it was an “unfriendly act.”
Financial details were not disclosed but the contract between Iran’s state gas firm and Switzerland’s Elektrizitaets-Gesellschaft Laufenburg reportedly envisages Iran supplying 5.5 billion cubic meters (194 trillion cubic feet) of gas annually from 2011.
The deal was made despite US pressure on European countries to cut their business ties with Tehran as a means to pressure Iran to give ground in its refusal to halt its disputed nuclear program.