Swiss dismiss US rebuke over energy deal

Switzerland has rejected United States criticism about a deal for the delivery of natural gas which was signed in Tehran on Monday.

This content was published on March 18, 2008 - 17:19

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said Washington's angry reaction was to be expected, but added Switzerland had its own strategic interests to defend.

She reiterated that the US authorities had been informed about the contract between the private Swiss energy firm, EGL, and the National Iranian Gas Export Company.

The accord does not violate United Nations sanctions against Iran, Calmy-Rey told a news conference in Bern on Tuesday.

She said her presence at the signing ceremony was in response to a request by the Iranian authorities.

Calmy-Rey who also held talks on human rights and Iran's nuclear stand-off, described the energy deal as an example of successful cooperation between Swiss business and diplomacy.

The foreign minister said the visit allowed her to maintain a difficult dialogue on human rights with Tehran.

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