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Swiss company signs major deal with Iranian gas producer

Swiss energy trading company EGL has signed a multibillion dollar contract to buy natural gas from Iran's national gas producer over the next 25 years, EGL announced.

According to the contract, the National Iranian Gas Export Company will supply about 5.5 billion cubic meters of natural gas to EGL per annum starting from 2009, which will later be sold to European consumers.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry said the deal is worth between $28 billion and $42 billion. But EGL spokesperson Bogdan Preda said the company would not disclose the concrete figure.

The US government immediately told the Swiss embassy in Washington that the contract is “sending a wrong message” to Iran, as it went against the spirit of the UN sanctions, the Associated Press reported.

But the Swiss government argued that the contract is “totally in line with international laws and UN resolutions.”

Foreign Minister Micheline Calmy-Rey said when attending the signing ceremony of the contract that the deal is a major step forward in diversifying power supplies to Europe.

The deal has to undergo strict scrutiny because Iran is still under United Nations (UN) sanctions. (Xinhua)