Iran threatens West over energy contracts

June 24, 2013 at 6:46 AM

TEHRAN, June 24 (UPI) -- The Iranian government plans to file complaints against European and American companies for skirting their contractual obligations, a ministry official said.

Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Alireza Zeighami was quoted by state-funded broadcaster Press TV as saying Western companies failed to honor their refining contracts in Iran.

"Iran will file a complaint against European and American companies for their non-compliance with [the terms of] their contracts with Iran for the implementation of refining projects," he said Sunday.

The minister did not reveal which companies would be targeted or the specifics of the contracts involved.

French energy company Total in May said it would pay $245 million to the U.S. Justice Department and $153 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission to put "an end to an investigation initiated in 2003 concerning petroleum contracts awarded in Iran in the 1990s."

Italian energy company Eni made similar statements in April.

Zeighami said the domestic refining sector was strong despite Western sanctions targeting Iran's energy sector.

Sanctions are designed to rob Iran of financing for its controversial nuclear research program, which the Iranian government says is for peaceful purposes.

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