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S. Korea called to account on Iran

A Jewish congressman called on South Korea to explain its dealings with Iran during debate on a proposed U.S.-South Korea free trade pact. In opening statements at the Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade subcommittee hearing Wednesday, Rep. Ron Klein (D-Fla.) said, “I hope the witnesses will address the issue of how our negotiators are considering South Korea’s involvement in the Iranian energy sector.” According to the Department of Energy, in September 2002 Iran signed a $1.6 billion development contract with South Korea’s LG Construction to aid in development of the South Pars gas fields. Several South Korean companies have also scheduled deliveries of new oil tankers to the National Iranian Oil Company in 2008 and 2009. Klein asked that the proposed Iran Counter-Proliferation Act of 2007, which would condition future trade agreements to not allow investment in Iran’s energy sector, be taken into consideration. “I hope that these foreign policy implications are taken very seriously by this administration, because we should not be undermining our own foreign policy, nor should we let South Korea undermine our national priorities,” Klein said.