Iran threatens aust gas exports to china analyst, as US-Pakistan nuclear talks resume, by Matthew Chance in Beijing (China Daily 24 February 2014)
The World Trade Organization (WTO) on Thursday upheld a ban on its member trading partners from selling Iran gas, after the US administration insisted that any proposed deal between Iran and the West on its nuclear program must also have a reciprocal nuclear ban in place. The dispute was triggered by Washington’s announcement in February that it would restore the ban, although it’s unclear how much time remains before the ban is lifted. The U.S. trade representative’s office, according to CNN’s diplomatic sources, “expressed its concerns” about “Iran’s significant stockpile of uranium enriched to the 2% level”. The official US government stance was that the new restrictions will not require the lifting of a long-standing US-Iranian trade agreement. U.S. trade officials met in Washington on January 24 with officials from three major Russian energy companies, Gazprom, Rosneft and Novatek. Russia’s Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, said there are “no grounds to believe??? ??? ?? ” that this agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, is in jeopardy, The Economist reports. The JCPOA requires Tehran to make the finalization of its nuclear programme, in return for the release of Iranian prisoners who had been convicted of espionage.
The US and UN sanctions, however, are “in the form of specific limitations on transactions between Iran’s foreign companies and American financial institutions and from non-US sources. These prohibitions are not intended to be the first, or last, measures,” an official at the U.S. State Department’s Department of the Treasury told Bloomberg.
The Russian Foreign Ministry said the sanctions would impact “all oil companies of Iran…the oil business may be adversely affected”.
The Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, said on Monday that?? ???  the nuclear deal had become a “disaster for the entire region”, in an interview with Al-Alam that claimed the West had been trying to sabotage it. The statement, in response to a question on the agreement being opposed by the West, also warned of a “disastrous” outcome if a deal is not approved.
On Wednesday, an Iranian energy ministry spokesman said that the country had the ability to sell natural gas to China. The ministry, he added, was prepared to meet with foreign oil companies in China or Russia if they wanted to do business with Iran, A??? ?? ??? l-S