Al Jazeera – A different view of the Iran Situation

From: Andrew Johnson

Date: 2006-01-17 17:44:33

What do you make of it?… Halliburton provided Iran with key nuclear reactor components8/10/2005 8:11:00 AM  GMT  Halliburton, the scandal-plagued oil company, that Vice President Dick Cheney used to run, sold an Iranian company key components for a nuclear reactor, Halliburton sources revealed. Cheney was CEO from 1995 to 2000, during which Halliburton Products and Services set up shop in Iran. Halliburton, which sells about $40 million a year worth of oil field services to the Iranian Government, was secretly aiding one of Iran’s top nuclear program officials on natural gas related projects and provided the official’s oil development company with the components last April, the sources said. FARS, one of Iran’s many state controlled news agencies reported last month the arrest of several executives of the Oriental Oil Kish Company, which is owned by sons and other relatives of the defeated mullah presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani, saying that the men were involved in widespread corruption of Iran’s oil industry, specifically tied to the country’s business dealings with Halliburton. According to a report posted on the Iran Press News website: “They were brought up on charges of economic corruption”. “Following the necessary investigations by the judiciary’s bailiffs, with warrants from the public prosecutor’s office, the case of economic corruption and malfeasance, certain of the authorities of Oriental Kish Oil Company have been arrested and under questioning.  The head of the board of directors was also among those detained.” Halliburton, with a history of violations of U.S. law by conducting business with countries the Bush administration claims are supporting “terrorism”, was working with Cyrus Nasseri, vice chairman of the board of directors of Oriental Oil Kish, on oil and natural gas development projects in Tehran, registered in the United Kingdom and Dubai. Nasseri, a key member of Iran’s nuclear development team, participated in Iran’s nuclear negotiating with the European Union and the International Atomic Energy Agency. According to a report published by the Financial Times: “Nasseri, a senior Iranian diplomat negotiating with Europe over Iran’s nuclear program, is at the heart of deals with U.S. energy companies to develop the country’s oil industry”. “A reliable source stated that, given the parameters, the close-knit cooperation and association of one of the key members of the regime’s nuclear negotiation team with Halliburton can be an alarm bell which will necessarily instigate the dynamics of the members of the regimes’ negotiating committee,” according to the Iran Press News story. In late July, Nasseri was questioned for passing Iran’s nuclear secrets to Halliburton and receiving $1 million in bribes from the company, Iranian government officials said.  According to Iran Press News, a huge network of oil mafia was uncovered during investigations. Halliburton sources revealed that the company sold Iran centrifuges and detonators to be used specifically for a nuclear reactor as well oil and natural gas drilling parts for well projects to Oriental Oil Kish. Halliburton’s business with Oriental Oil Kish first surfaced in January, when the Iranian company said that it gave some contracts of the South Pars natural gas drilling project to Halliburton Products and Services, a subsidiary of Dallas-based Halliburton. Later on, Halliburton said the South Pars gas field project in Iran will be the its last project in the country, “due to a poor business environment,” according to BBC. In May and under mounting pressure from lawmakers in Washington, Halliburton decided to end its deals with Nasseri, but continued acting as an advisory capacity to his company. Currently, the U.S. law doesn’t prohibit foreign subsidiaries from having business with what President Bush calls “rouge” nations as long as the subsidiaries are truly independent of the mother company. But Halliburton’s Cayman Island subsidiary never did fit that description. According to a February 2001 report in the Wall Street Journal, “Halliburton Products & Services Ltd. works behind an unmarked door on the ninth floor of a new north Tehran tower block.  A brochure declares that the company was registered in 1975 in the Cayman Islands, is based in the Persian Gulf sheikdom of Dubai and is non-American.  But, like the sign over the receptionist’s head, the brochure bears the company’s name and red emblem, and offers services from Halliburton units around the world.”

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