Last week I wrote a piece on the dangerous new condition known as Iranian Agreement Derangement Syndrome (IADS) in which I noted how several media outlets ran with news of an “American oil delegation” in Tehran as part of a four-day energy conference. The American delegation claim was reported without a serious attempt to verify and despite the fact that the sole source was Iran’s deputy oil minister through state-run news outlet Mehr New Agency.
The idea that U.S. oil companies were making public, official visits to Iran in this way seems pretty far-fetched. U.S. companies are prohibited from engaging with Iran’s energy sector in any way and it is highly unlikely that these prohibitions will be impacted by a nuclear deal, at least in the near-intermediate term. It would also be a good bet that showing up to an oil conference in Tehran would result in a lot of unwanted attention from the State and Treasury Departments. Remember only 1.5 months have passed since the Schlumberger guilty plea.
So it didn’t come as much of a surprise that according to wire service UPI, not only was there no American delegation, there has been no contact between Iran’s oil-ministry and U.S. oil companies. The head of a contract revision committee in the Iranian Oil Ministry Mehdi Hosseni is quoted as saying:
“We are in regular contacts with companies from Europe and Asia, but there has been no contact yet with American companies”
This should be another reminder that any claims of significant public exploration of the Iranian market by the vast majority of U.S. companies, other than perhaps those engaged in Ag/Med or commercial communications trade, should be taken with a shaker of salt.