Japan, Iran Oil Deal Irks U.S.

From the March-April 2004 Trumpet Print Edition

In February, Japan and Iran inked a $2 billion deal to exploit one of the largest oil fields in the Middle East. Japan’s Inpex Corp., Toman Corp. and Japan Petroleum Exploration Co. will have a 75 percent stake in the production of the Azadegan oil field, whose output is estimated to reach 260,000 barrels per day by 2012. “The project is one of the largest Iran has signed with a foreign country since the Islamic Revolution of 1979” (bbc News, February 19).

Tokyo proceeded with this deal despite resistance from Washington. When the deal was signed, a U.S. State Department spokesman said he was “disappointed”—“Our policy has been … to oppose petroleum investment there.”

This collaboration between the greatest state sponsor of terrorism and one of the U.S.’s strongest allies shows, at the very least, that energy concerns often override political alliances.

The benefits both parties stand to make from the deal will contribute to Iran’s rising influence in the Middle East and Japan’s independence from the United States. No wonder Washington was concerned about the deal.