Maliki concerned about Iran oil deals

Dec. 16, 2010 at 8:06 AM
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BAGHDAD, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki believed U.S. supermajor Chevron was in oil talks with Iran to tap into border fields despite sanctions, cables suggest.

Washington imposed a series of sweeping sanctions on the Iranian energy sector meant to pressure the country into coming clean on its nuclear ambitions.

Patricia Butenis, the U.S. charge d'affaires in Iraq in 2009, wrote in cables obtained by WikiLeaks and given to London's Guardian newspaper that Maliki claimed Chevron was in unilateral talks with Iran on developing cross-border oil fields despite the sanctions.

Maliki, the cable read, was concerned "about the political feasibility of such a deal involving a U.S. firm working both sides of a cross-border field, given current U.S. government policies toward Iran."

Butenis added that Washington was unable to make an independent confirmation on Chevron's action. The oil company said it was in compliance with U.S. regulations.

The cables don't identify the oil field in question, though there are several lucrative reserves that straddle the border between Iran and Iraq.

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