Iran Urges More Brazilian Involvement in Oil Sector

A00384995.jpgTEHRAN (FNA)- Iran has called for Brazil’s state-run oil company Petrobras to become more active in its oil sector.A report released by the Brazilian newspaper Folha de Sao Paulo on Friday quoted Iran’s deputy foreign minister, Alireza Sheikh Attar, as saying, “We are neither pressuring nor imploring its participation in Iran.”

“But we can’t just sit around waiting,” the diplomat added.

Sheikh Attar also reminded that Iran has the second-biggest oil and gas reserves in the world and “Petrobras knows how much can be done in Iran”.

Petrobras is a recognized world leader in deep-sea drilling, and it has said recent vast petroleum finds in Iran could propel Brazil among the ranks of OPEC members.

Sheikh Attar said “the ball is in Petrobras’ court,” while recognizing that Brazil may be subject to ‘pressures from its northern neighbors’ – code for Iran’s arch-foe, the United States.

The US is at loggerheads with Iran over Tehran’s independent and home-grown nuclear technology. Washington has laid much pressure on Iran to make it give up the most sensitive and advanced part of the technology, which is uranium enrichment, a process used for producing nuclear fuel for power plants.

Washington’s push for additional UN penalties contradicted the recent report by 16 US intelligence bodies that endorsed the civilian nature of Iran’s programs. Following the US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) and similar reports by the IAEA head – one in November and the other one in early March – which praised Iran’s truthfulness about key aspects of its past nuclear activities and announced settlement of outstanding issues with Tehran, any effort to impose further sanctions on Iran seemed to be completely irrational.

The February report by the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, praised Iran’s cooperation in clearing up all of the past questions over its nuclear program, vindicating Iran’s nuclear program and leaving no justification for any new UN sanctions.

Tehran says it never worked on atomic weapons and wants to enrich uranium merely for civilian purposes, including generation of electricity, a claim substantiated by the NIE and IAEA reports.

Iran has insisted it would continue enriching uranium because it needs to provide fuel to a 300-megawatt light-water reactor it is building in the southwestern town of Darkhovin as well as its first nuclear power plant in the southern port city of Bushehr.

Not only many Iranian officials, including President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, but also many other world nations have called the UN Security Council pressure unjustified, especially in the wake of recent IAEA reports saying Iran had increased cooperation with the agency.

US President George W. Bush, who finished a tour of the Middle East last month has called on his Arab allies to unite against Iran.

But hosting officials of the regional nations dismissed Bush’s allegations, describing Tehran as a good friend of their countries.

Bush’s attempt to rally international pressure against Iran has lost steam due to the growing international vigilance, specially following the latest IAEA and US intelligence reports.

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