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Iran’s judiciary may hold fresh trial on Crescent gas deal case

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Former Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh is accused of involvement in a controversial gas sale deal with the UAE dubbed the Crescent.

Iran’s judiciary may decide to hold a fresh trial on an old but controversial gas sale deal with a company in the United Arab Emirates some two months after an international court awarded damages to the firm and after officials accused of involvement in the case left office as part of a change of administration in Tehran in early August.

Vice president of the Iranian judiciary Mohammad Mosaddegh said on Thursday that a new hearing may open to reexamine alleged cases of corruption in the gas supply deal between National Iranian Oil Co and the Crescent Petroleum, an affiliate of the Sharjah-based Dana Gas.

“The Crescent case has been examined once but given that it is a very important case the judiciary will revisit it if it receives any complaint,” said Mosaddegh.

Dana Gas announced in late September that an international arbitration tribunal had awarded it $607.5 million over the 25-year gas supply deal which was cancelled by Iranian authorities in 2005 just before it was due to start.

The UAE company said the award of damages is related to the first eight and a half years of the contract and that it may win a much larger award for the remaining part of the deal in a hearing which is due in 2023.

A group of parliament lawmakers wrote a letter to the Iranian judiciary on Wednesday calling for a reexamination of the case which involved senior figures from the reformist and moderate camps of the Iranian politics, including former Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh.

Zanganeh, who left office in August after serving for eight years as Iran’s top petroleum man, has rejected allegations of corruption.

He said on Twitter on Thursday that he will appear in a major television program next week to explain the case.

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