• Kyodo

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A U.S. representative said Tuesday that the administration of President George W. Bush allowed Japan to invest in a major oil field project in Iran in exchange for its dispatch of Self-Defense Forces troops to Iraq.

“An administration desperate for re-election will take 550 soldiers from Japan, which provide the veneer of international support and credibility for our relations in Iraq, which is the preoccupation of the electorate, and give the green light to $2.8 billion going from Japan to Iran,” said Brad Sherman, a California Democrat.

He was speaking during a hearing of the House International Relations Committee, in reference to an agreement in February between Japan and Iran on an oil development project in Azadegan, southern Iran, one of the world’s largest oil fields.

Sherman called Iran “the nation who is most likely to be the culprit if a nuclear weapon is smuggled into the United States.”

In the hearing, John Bolton, undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, said Sherman’s statement was “absolutely not true.”

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