Iran uses oil weapon to entice Japanese

Oil-rich Iran is offering oil-deficient Japan a special relationship. The Iranian Ambassador in Tokyo has told the Japanese they can secure all the stable energy supplies they need if they act "freely and independently."

The warning from Dr. Ghassem Salehkhou was virtually one of the footnotes to a very long message celebrating the first anniversary of the Islamic revolution in Iran Feb 10.

Messages from envoys on national days are a regular feature of the four English-language dailies here.

Dr. Salehkhou was by no means the first envoy to point out that his nation's relationship with Japan was one-sided in Japan's favor, and purely economic.

However, the Ambassador suggested that Iran was ready for a new era in closer partnership with Japan.

He said that since Iran had minimized oil extraction levels, it was choosing trading partners in a "selective" manner.

"This may provide Japan with a golden opportunity to become a preferred partner and a longtime friend," he said.

The improving but rather "delicate" relationship, he added, could lead to Japan significantly contributing to Iran's industrialization.Iran admired Japan's industrial achievements and hoped Japan could supply it with appropriate technology.

The ambassador's outline on this point comes on the eve of decisions taken for a group of Japanese engineers to move back to the construction site of the $ 3 billion Japan-Iran petrochemical complex.

About 85 percent of construction is complete. When finalized it will produce ethylene, polyethylene, vinyl chloride monomer, and liquefied petroleum gas.

Originally the complex was undertaken by the Mitsui Industrial group. However, in order to improve friendly relations between the two countries, the Japanese government has classified the complex as a national project and given it full-scale backing.

The major part of the anniversary message reviewed recent events. The Ambassador said the deposed Shah had plundered billions of dollars of personal wealth from the nation at the expense of depriving people who lacked water, shelter, and hygiene.

Remote villages and slums in even major cities were afflicted, he said, and added that decadent elements of Western culture, and addiction, prostitution, treachery, and class privileges had deeply penetrated society.

However, since the revolution under the leadership of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the Ambassador claimed that young students, workers, and farmers had taken part in a "crusade for reconstruction."

The crusaders have gone to the remotest villages and towns to provide deprived masses with basic necessities.

Based on the principles of Islam, a new economic order was under way. It was quite different from socialism and capitalism, the Ambassador explained. Private property was neither fully respected as in capitalism, nor completely denied as in socialism.

The Ambassador was not specific about the degree of constraint on ownership, which he said was to restrict wealth from the hands of a few. However, he stated that banks, insurance, and some other industries that had served as a "vent for capital flight" had been nationalized.

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