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Cablegate: Petrovietnam Still Negotiating Details of Iran Investment

VZCZCXRO8406
RR RUEHHM
DE RUEHHI #0711 1650809
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 130809Z JUN 08
FM AMEMBASSY HANOI
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8017
INFO RUEHHM/AMCONSUL HO CHI MINH 4856

UNCLAS HANOI 000711

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG ECON EPET ETTC IR PREL VM
SUBJECT: PETROVIETNAM STILL NEGOTIATING DETAILS OF IRAN INVESTMENT

REF: A) HANOI 314; B) STATE 59820

1. (SBU) On June 10, poloff discussed Ref B points about reports of
PetroVietnam's investment in Iran's energy sector with MFA West Asia
and Africa Department specialist Nguyen Quynh Phuong. Ms. Phuong
said the two sides are still negotiating details of the investment.
She characterized the agreement signed in March as "more than a
memorandum of understanding, but not a firm contract." According to
Phuong, the deal will be scuttled only if the two sides are not able
to reach agreement on remaining technical and commercial terms. She
was not able to provide an estimated value for the transaction.
Phuong also said there has been no further progress on a second Iran
project that PetroVietnam is pursuing jointly with Belarus (Ref A).

2. (SBU) Phuong emphasized that the GVN always respects UN Security
Council resolutions and that PetroVietnam's Iran deal had been
structured with attention to compliance with Iran sanctions. The
banks and Iranian partners in the transaction were reviewed and
selected with an eye to insuring that they are not entities listed
in the resolutions.

3. (SBU) While acknowledging U.S. concerns that the deal could send
a wrong message to the Iranian Government, Phuong pointed out that
the GVN would like to maintain friendly relations with Iran. By
cooperating in the energy sector, Phuong suggested that the GVN may
have an opportunity to influence Iran with regard to other issues.
The GVN approach is "to build its bilateral relationship with Iran,
rather than to isolate Iran." Phuong said she would pass U.S.
concerns about the Iran deal to the MFA leadership for its
consideration.

ALOISI

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