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Friday, April 1, 2011     GET REAL

U.S. sanctions Belarus for energy assist to Iran

WASHINGTON — The United States has imposed sanctions on Belarus in connection with its assistance to Iran's energy program.


The State Department has announced U.S. sanctions on Belarus' state-woned Belarusneft, contracted to develop Iran's Jofeir oilfield.

Officials said Belarusneft would be denied aid from the U.S. Export-Import Bank as well as acquiring major bank loans and U.S. government export licenses over the next year.

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"They limit the company's ability to access the U.S. market and, even if they don't have any U.S. commercial activities at present, they will limit their options to operate in the U.S. in the future," State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on March 29.

Officials acknowledged that Belarusneft has not been lent any money from U.S. banks or sought to enter the American market. In 2007, Belarusnef signed a $500 million contract with NaftIran Intertrade company to develop Jofeir.

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