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Iran Being Supported by Shell Oil, OMV and Many Others…

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Iran Being Supported by Shell Oil, OMV and Many Others…

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Malid Tower in Tehran, IranTwo major global energy companies are supporting and promoting Iran by sponsoring a conference being held in Tehran. The goal of the conference is to promote “gas export opportunities and potentials of the Islamic Republic of Iran“. The conference is being held under the backing of The National Iranian Gas Export Company and is scheduled for October 4th through 5th.

Multi-National company 
Shell Oil, and Austrian based OMV, are sponsoring the event. Stop the Bomb, an Austrian non-partisan activist coalition and the U.S. Anti-Defamation League are gaining international coverage for their strong stance against these major energy companies participating in this event.

There has been a world wide effort to “isolate Iran” due to their being the “leading state-sponsor of terrorism and human rights violations”. The EU and UN have both planned to cut back business ties with Iran. The Austrian government owns 31.5 percent of the OMV company and Stop the Bomb is furious about OMV’s involvment in this Iranian event. As an EU member state and a UN member nation, Austria is undermining the effort of the EU and UN in regards to Iran.

Both OMV and Shell have corporate human rights pledges (OMVShell). Neither company will comment when asked if supporting Iran through this event violates their prospective human rights pledges. Haaretz reports the OMV deal was signed in April 2007, and was met with criticism from Austria.

But Austrian Chancellor Alfred Gusenbauer, asked by the Austrian daily Die Presse how the deal squares with his Social Democratic Party’s tradition of “human rights before business,” responded: “The tradition never held true.”

The Iranian company that is holding the event is state owned making this event and participation in it direct support of the the state of Iran, not merely an economic or energy event.

Far News Agency report states that China, Italy, France and Spain are all involved with Iran and the exploration for oil and gas. Shell and OMV are currently in the spotlight however there are many other countries and companies making plans to work with Iran regarding oil and gas exploration. How far will this go? Empowering Iran for the purposes of obtaining oil.

As we prepare to elect a new president here in the U.S., an important issue is our own dependence on foreign oil and our pursuit for energy independence. As we watch countries and companies defy their own agreements regarding human rights and pursue relationship with Iran, we can turn our thoughts to our own situation. Will we remain at a stand still arguing over oil or will we embrace a balanced approach to pursue our own resources in combination with alternative energy options? I believe we have the ingenuity and competence as a country to responsibly pursue energy independence.

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Photo Credit: Hamed Saber via Flickr Creative Commons License

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