WASHINGTON – A senior U.S. government official recently suggested that Japan reconsider its oil development deal with Iran and obtain oil from Libya instead, another U.S. official said Wednesday.
The unofficial suggestion was made to an official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry amid growing tensions over Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran is suspected of resuming construction of centrifuges to enrich uranium. Libya announced in December that it will voluntarily dismantle all its weapons of mass destruction programs.
“Certainly, one thing Japan could consider for oil supply instead of Iran is Libya,” the official was quoted as saying.
The official was referring to an agreement that Japan reached with Iran in February on an oil development project in Azadegan, southern Iran, one of the world’s largest oil fields.
The comment apparently reflects Washington’s increasingly tough stance toward Iran. The United States is seeking a resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency in September to refer the Iranian nuclear issue to the U.N. Security Council for possible economic sanctions.
The U.S. official said Britain, France and Germany failed to convince Iran in a meeting last month not to construct the centrifuges.
During the meeting, an Iranian official said, “We have a right to uranium enrichment,” the U.S. official said.