U.S. fueling Iranian petroleum?

Two congressmen want to know if U.S. contributions to the World Bank are helping develop Iranian petroleum resources.

In a letter sent last week to the U.S. Justice Department and released Tuesday to reporters, Reps. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Steven Rothman (D-N.J.) note that U.S. law bans the funding of the Iranian energy sector as a means of hindering Iran’s nuclear ambitions. However, in 2006, the U.S. Treasury contributed $1.3 million to the World Bank’s Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency, which promotes foreign investment in the developing world through loan guarantees.

That came after the agency guaranteed $122 million for Iran’s National Petrochemical Company to produce “polyoelfins, including high-density polyethylene.” The product is derived from petroleum which, the congressmen say, would qualify it as a “petroleum resource.”

The congressmen want the Justice Dept. to determine whether the apparent U.S. contribution to the loan guarantee is in violation of U.S. law.

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