Congressional leaders are warning international oil companies looking to invest in Iran that severe financial penalties await them if they move too soon.
The ink is barely dry on world powers' interim deal with Iran to ease sanctions in exchange for a slowdown of Tehran's nuclear program. The primary sanctions on Iran's oil business remain in place. That hasn't stopped petro-giants like Royal Dutch Shell, Italian company Eni, and Austrian oil and gas company OMV from exploring the possibility of renewing their operations in Iran. And those moves have both Democratic and Republican lawmakers livid.
"Companies examining their options for resuming business relationships with the Iranian regime are acting prematurely at best," Rep. Michael McCaul, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, told Foreign Policy.
For years, the U.S. government has insisted that a planned missile defense system in Europe served to protect America's allies against attacks from Iran. Now that the nuclear threat from Iran may be receding, Russia, which has always seen the system as a menace to its own security, has suggested scrapping the program. But the White House on Thursday said the missile shield, otherwise known as the European phased adaptive approach (EPAA), isn't going anywhere.
"Our plans regarding missile defense in Europe and our commitment to EPAA as the U.S. contribution to NATO missile defense remain unchanged," National Security Council spokeswoman Laura Lucas Magnuson told The Cable.
The idea of scaling back NATO's missile defense system was floated by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday following a meeting with Russian and NATO counterparts. "If the Iranian nuclear program is placed under the complete and tight control of the IAEA, the reasons that are now given for the creation of the European segment of the missile defense system will become invalid," said Lavrov.