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Brazil-based gas giant may close Iranian operations

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Three days after hosting Israeli President Shimon Peres, a Brazilian oil and gas giant announced it may close its operation in Iran.

The international director of Petrobras, Jorge Zelada, told the influential Latin American magazine Veja on Monday that Latin America’s largest company is studying the possibility.

Peres met last Friday with Petrobras President Jose Gabrielli at the company’s world headquarters in Rio de Janeiro.

The reported reason was the frustrated expectations with the drilling of two wells in Iran. Zelada said the drilling results are not commercially interesting and the exploration permit will be returned to the Iranian government. The Petrobras office in Tehran is likely to be closed soon, he added.

"It’s a strictly technical decision," Zelada declared, denying political pressures.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is scheduled to visit Brazil on Nov. 23.

During his five-day visit to Brazil last week, the first by an Israeli president in 40 years, Peres made continuous headlines after meeting President Luis Inacio Lula da Silva and several other government officials. He also delivered a historic speech at the Brazilian congress and was declared an honorary citizen of Brazil’s capital, Brasilia.
 

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