Norway Sells Out

Responding to the new wave of public hangings in Iran, Norwegian foreign minister Raymond Johanssen condemned the acts as “barbaric.” He acknowledged the “little influence” of a small country such as Norway in putting pressure on a country like Iran but took a principled stance nonetheless. Such protests are “important to internal opponents” of Ahmadinejad’s regime, Johanssen said.
Norway’s foreign minister should be commended for his principled stance. And for his modesty as well. After all, Norway wields much more influence on Iran than it likes to admit. For example, its oil company, Statoil-Hydro, is in charge of developing phases six through eight of Iran’s South Pars gas field—the world’s known largest field of natural gas. Statoil-Hydro is also involved in a number of other projects based in Iran. Their investment was originally worth $300 million and could potentially yield billions in revenues. How does this square with the “little influence” Johanssen laments? It looks like principle and trade never cross each other’s paths in the land of the fjords.

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Norway Sells Out

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