The U.S. Secretary of State has decided to apply the Special Rule under the Iran Sanctions Act, as recently amended by the Comprehensive Iran Sanctions and Divestment Act, to the Japanese energy company INPEX CORPORATION. The effect of this decision is that the Department of State will not conduct an investigation into INPEX’s past investments in Iran’s energy sector. This decision is a result of INPEX’s October 15 announcement to complete its withdrawal from the $2 billion project in Iran's South Azadegan oil field. INPEX has also pledged that the company will not engage in any energy-related activity in Iran in the future that could result in sanctions under the Iran Sanctions Act. As long as the company continues to act in accordance with its assurances, the Secretary does not regard INPEX as a company of concern for its past Iran-related activities.
INPEX’s withdrawal is another meaningful step in increasing the cost of Iran’s noncompliance to its international nuclear obligations. As recognized in UNSCR 1929, Iran potentially uses revenues derived from its energy sector to fund its proliferation-sensitive activities. The U.S. sanctions, together with measures taken by Japan, the EU, Norway, South Korea, Canada, Australia, and others to further implement UNSCR 1929, have been an effective tool to encourage companies to withdraw from Iran. Responsible companies continue to reach the conclusion that until Iran complies with its international obligations and returns to serious negotiations on its nuclear program, the risks of doing business there are too high.
The Department of State welcome the commitments made by INPEX and hopes that other firms will follow their lead. The United States will continue to pursue sanctions to the fullest extent possible to encourage Iran to address the international community’s concerns regarding its nuclear program.