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Lukoil to continue in Iran despite sanctions problems

by Staff Writers
Moscow (AFP) Nov 17, 2006
Lukoil, the biggest Russian oil company, said Tuesday it will continue to work in Iran despite the problems caused by US-inspired sanctions on Tehran over its nuclear development programme.

The Anaran oil project "will continue, development is under way," Lukoil spokesman Vladimir Simakov told AFP in reponse to local press reports the operation could be suspended.

While work at Anaran continues, "there are nevertheless concerns about the future (of the project), in that we could be hit with sanctions by the United States (for operating in Iran)," Simakov said.

"The US sanctions can affect third parties, such as Russia or one of its companies, if their investment in Iran is more than 20 million dollars.

"For the moment, our investment has not breached that limit but it is coming perilously close to it," he added.

Lukoil announced a major oil find at Anaran in December 2005 and began development work there. It holds 25 percent of the project while Norway's Norsk Hydro has the remainder.

The United States, charging that Tehran is intent on acquiring nuclear weapons, has led a drive to impose ever tighter sanctions on Iran which insists that its atomic programme is for peaceful ends only.

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