The United States welcomes the decision by the Japanese oil company INPEX to withdraw from its investments in Iran. The company’s actions are part of a strong and emerging consensus, not only of governments, but also from the private sector, that has come together to send a powerful and unified signal to Iran that it should meet its international obligations and begin to engage seriously on its nuclear program. INPEX’s decision today once again underscores that there are risks in dealing with Iran. INPEX’s decision is consistent with the measures in UN Security Council Resolution 1929 and the Government of Japan’s recent sanctions on Iran, which, as Secretaries Clinton and Geithner stated last month, mark a significant step forward in the international community’s efforts to combat proliferation and prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons.
Deputy Secretary Steinberg announced on September 30 that four European energy companies -- ENI, Statoil, Shell, and Total -- have withdrawn from Iran. These actions, now complemented by INPEX are further evidence that sanctions are having a major impact on Iran. The United States remains committed to a diplomatic solution that resolves the international community’s concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program. We will continue to work with our partners to pursue a dual track strategy of engagement and pressure to achieve this objective.