Iran-Japan Talks Continue about Azadegan Oil Contract

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Managing Director of the National Iranian Oil Company said Tehran would not extend the deadline it has specified for Japan’s Inpex Company for commencing the project for the extension of Azadegan Oil Field.

Speaking to FNA’s economic desk, Gholam-Hossein Nowzari said talks would continue by tomorrow, but refrained from commenting on the contents of the negotiations.

Meantime, the official said there resides a good possibility for the two sides to reach an agreement in the course of the current talks.

“We expect to reach some results today, but we will wrap up everything within the next two days,” he mentioned.

Earlier, Iran’s deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs Seyed Mohammad Hadi Nezhad Hoseinian had said in case the Japanese party decides to withdraw from the contract, Iranian experts are able to execute the project once the financial credits required for the extension of the gigantic oil field are provided.

Meantime, Japan’s new Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Akira Amari said on Saturday that Tokyo hopes to continue talks with Iran on tapping the Azadegan oil field beyond the Saturday deadline set by Tehran for the nation’s participation.

“I don’t believe Iran is really willing to stop talks so easily at this time,” Amari said, noting that Iran should clear land mines around the oil field and stop its uranium enrichment program so the project can start.

No matter Tehran accepts the first condition or not, it may never give up its enrichment activities as dangerous threats and pressures of the western powers could not force Iran to stop its nuclear plans. Hence, it seems that Iran should now think of a new partner for its Azadegan oil field.

Japan’s Inpex Corp. was granted a concession to develop Azadegan, one of the largest oil fields in the world, with expected production of 260,000 barrels a day. But Inpex has not started on the project because of international pressures being exerted over Iran’s nuclear activities, and the firm’s claim that land mines also pose a hindrance.

Iran has threatened to turn to China and Russia and cancel the Inpex concession if Japan fails to start by the deadline, which has been pushed back repeatedly, from the originally set Aug. 22 to Sept. 15, and then to yesterday.

Amari called on Tehran to abide by the United Nations resolution calling on Iran to halt its nuclear enrichment efforts, so the oil field project can get under way, meaning that this is the end to Iran-Japan contract on the development of Azadegan oil field.

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