Scandal-plagued Halliburton - the oil services company once headed by US Vice President Dick Cheney - sold an Iranian oil development company key components for a nuclear reactor, say Halliburton sources with intimate knowledge into both companies’ business dealings.
Halliburton was secretly working at the time with one of Iran’s top nuclear program officials on natural gas related projects and sold the components in April to the official's oil development company, the sources said.
Just a few weeks ago, a National Security Council report said Iran was a decade away from acquiring a nuclear bomb. That time frame could arguably have been significantly longer if Halliburton, whose military unit just reported a 284 per cent increase in its second quarter profits due to its Iraq reconstruction contracts, was not actively providing the Iranian Government with the means to build a nuclear weapon.
With Iran's new hardline government now firmly in place, Iranian officials have rounded up relatives and close business associates of Iran's former President and defeated mullah presidential candidate Hashemi Rafsanjani, alleging the men were involved in widespread corruption of Iran's oil industry, specifically tied to the country's business dealings with Halliburton.
On July 27 of this year, one of Iran's many state controlled news agencies, FARS, an “information” arm of the Islamic judiciary, announced the arrest of several of the executives of the Oriental Oil Kish Company, which is owned by Rafsanjani's children and other relatives.
“They were brought up on charges of economic corruption,” according to a report posted on the Iran Press News website. “Following the necessary investigations by the judiciary's bailiffs, with warrants from the public prosecutor's office (mainly mullahs who only dole out Islamic jurisprudence), the case of economic corruption and malfeasance, certain of the authorities of Oriental Kish Oil Company have been arrested and under questioning. The head of the board of directors was also among those detained.”
Now comes word that Halliburton, which has a long history of flouting US law by conducting business with countries the Bush administration said has ties to terrorism, was working with Cyrus Nasseri, vice chairman of the board of directors of Oriental Oil Kish, one of Iran’s largest private oil companies, on oil and natural gas development projects in Tehran. Nasseri is also a key member of Iran’s nuclear development team and has been negotiating Iran's nuclear development issues with the European Union and at the International Atomic Energy Agency.
“Nasseri, a senior Iranian diplomat negotiating with Europe over Iran's controversial nuclear program is at the heart of deals with US energy companies to develop the country's oil industry,” the Financial Times reported.
“A reliable source stated that, given the parameters, the close-knit co-operation and association of one of the key members of the regime's nuclear negotiation team with Halliburton can be an alarm bell which will necessarily instigate the dynamics of the members of the regimes' negotiating committee,” according to the Iran Press News story.
Oriental Oil Kish is registered in the United Kingdom and Dubai.
Nasseri was interrogated by Iranian authorities in late July for allegedly providing Halliburton with Iran’s nuclear secrets and accepting as much as $1 million in bribes from Halliburton, Iranian Government officials said. During the first round of interrogations in the judiciary, a huge network of oil mafia has been exposed, according to the IPS report.
It is unclear whether Halliburton was privy to information regarding Iran’s nuclear activities. Halliburton sources said the company sold centrifuges and detonators to be used specifically for a nuclear reactor and oil and natural gas drilling parts for well projects to Oriental Oil Kish.
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