07/10/2008, 00.00
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Total says Iran investment “too risky”

The President of the French Energy giant announces “plans to extract gas in the south of the country have been dropped”. The decision comes one day after Tehran’s missile launch testing weapons capable of hitting Israel and US military bases in the Gulf.

Teheran (AsiaNews) –It’s “too risky” to invest in Iran according to Christophe de Margerie, president of French Energy giant Total announcing that “all plans to extract fuel in the south of the country have been dropped”.

In 2006 Total signed a deal with the Teheran government to exploit the phase 11 of Iran's giant South Pars gas field to produce liquefied natural gas for export and to build a liquefaction plant.

The announcement comes a day after Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran), test-fired 9 long and short range missiles, capable of hitting strategic US bases in the region and the nation’s sworn enemy, Israel.  State TV broadcast the launch, which took place in a desert zone: among the missiles tested there was the Shahab 3, which has a range of over 2 thousand km.

Analysts believe that Total’s decision is a “serious blow” to the Iranian energy department: “Today we would be taking too much political risk to invest in Iran because people will say: 'Total will do anything for money” Christophe de Margerie told the Financial Times.

Iran has been the centre of attention for international politics for months now: its’ controversial nuclear programme and the recent missile tests have provoked strong reactions from both the US and Israel, who so far have not ruled out the option of a military attack, should Iran fail to abandon its war mongering.

Total is familiar with investment issues linked to international problems.  Last year, following the Burmese junta’s violent repression of peaceful protests led by Buddhist monks, the petrol company withdrew from its commitments in Myanmar.


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