February 03, 2005

Halliburton’s Fate in Iran

Halliburton’s Fate in Iran

Under mounting pressure from American capitalists and firms, US energy services company Halliburton is to end its operations in Iran after existing contracts come to an end. Several American firms have been able to legally work in the country in the face of a US trade embargo, through foreign subsidiaries.

Analysts have failed to find out if Halliburton, once run by US vice president Dick Cheney, is winding down its operations in Iran to alleviate domestic pressure on it or to reach other objectives.

Acting manager of the National Iranian Oil Company announced that Halliburton was not directly involved in any project in Iran while the company itself says its Cayman Island unit secured revenues of $30m-$40m (£16-£21m) from Iran in 2003. The company announced it was winding down its work due to a poor business environment.
The presence of Halliburton and its units in the region should be viewed from two aspects. It is an American company and has so far shunned the US sanctions against Iran thereby getting scot-free. In the meantime, Halliburton has been instrumental in cutting the expenses for operation of oil, gas and petrochemical projects in Iran.

And a federal grand jury is looking at whether any violations of the Iran trade embargo had taken place. Halliburton chief Dave Lesar said the firm would return to the country if US legislation changed or the business climate picked up.
Anyhow, the contribution of American companies to transfer of technological savvy to Iran is of great help and they have to justify their work in Iran.
The US government was from the very beginning opposed to any cooperation of Halliburton with Iran and the American technocrats have applied pressure on the government in order to alleviate sanctions.
A recent Iranian gas field contract won by Halliburton sparked criticism in the US.
Halliburton saw a loss of $201m in the fourth quarter of 2004, compared to a loss of $947m a year ago, when it was hit with charges related to settlement of asbestos claims.
American circles have once again challenged the presence of Halliburton in Iran and the company is expected to redefine the nature of its contribution to Iranian projects. It is naïve to close the eyes on the political achievements of this decision.
The sanctions will harm the US government more than Iran because American capitalists will not remain silent.

www.shana.com, Daily, Feb. 1st, 2005
Word Count : 400

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