Iran may lose Japan oil deal after pressure from U.S.

Tuesday, July 8, 2003

LONDON Iran has been threatened with a loss of oil clients, Japan in particular.

Tokyo has warned Teheran that it will not buy Iranian oil unless it responds to international concerns about Iran's nuclear program. The international community has called on Iran to sign an additional protocol of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty that would allow spot inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Iran and Japan have been discussing Tokyo's cooperation to develop Azadegan, one of Iran's largest oil fields. The Japanese consortium negotiating for the project is comprised of Tomen Corp., Inpex Corp. and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co.

The United States has pressed Japan to end oil cooperation with Iran.

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Japanese cooperation in Azadegan would hurt international efforts to halt Iran's nuclear weapons program. Iran said IAEA director-general Mohammed El Baradei will visit Teheran on Wednesday.

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