July 6, 2012
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States on Friday welcomed what it said was a decision by Italy’s Edison International to withdraw from Iran’s energy sector and scrap a multi-million dollar contract to explore Iran’s Dayyer natural gas field.
“We commend the commitments made by Edison International, and we hope that other firms will follow its lead,” the State Department said in a statement, adding that Edison had pledged not to engage in future business with Iran which might be subject to U.S. sanctions.
“These companies have recognized the risks of doing business in Iran’s energy sector given Iran’s proliferation activities, support for terror networks around the world, and other destabilizing actions,” the State Department said.
Edison signed a $107 million contract with Iran’s national oil company NIOC in 2008 to help develop the 3,281 square-mile (8,500 square-km) Dayyer offshore block, and was one of 16 non-U.S. companies listed in a U.S. government report in 2011 as having commercial interests in Iran’s oil, gas and petrochemical sectors.
The United States and the European Union have tightened sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear program, which they fear is aimed at producing an atomic weapon. Iran denies the charge, saying its program is purely for peaceful purposes.
(Reporting By Andrew Quinn; Editing by Bill Trott and Vicki Allen)