Halliburton's Man in Iran

As the United States and Iran clash over the nuclear issue at the United Nations summit, the Islamic republic is pursuing a corruption investigation against a former top official on its nuclear negotiating team for his ties to Halliburton, the oil services giant once run by Vice President Cheney.

Cyrus Nasseri, senior Iranian representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is refusing to return home from Vienna because of his alleged involvement in an oil corruption case, according to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Cyrus Nasseri, former Iranian nuclear negotiator and business partner of a Halliburton subsidiary.

The complex story of Halliburton in the "Axis of Evil," which I reported in February, just keeps getting more interesting.

Nasseri, according to reports in the British and Iranian online media, wore two hats. Besides advocating Iran's right to pursue a peaceful nuclear program, he also served as a board member of a company called Oriental Kish. In January, the firm won a big contract to develop a huge Iranian natural gas field. Oriental Kish, in turn, subcontracted parts of the project to Halliburton Products and Services, a subsidiary registered in the Cayman Islands with offices in Dubai.

After NBC Nightly News reported the story in March and a bipartisan group of U.S. senators backed legislation to shut down the deal, Halliburton dropped out of the project in May.

But the controversy did not die, according to Iran Focus, a nonprofit news site based in France. From the start, hardline members of Iran's parliament charged that Oriental Kish was little more than a front for Halliburton and demanded an investigation. In June fellow hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president, in part on a pledge to "purge the country's oil industry of Mafia-like influence and corruption."

In July Nasseri was questioned by authorities but retained his job amid press reports that several top Oriental Kish executives faced corruption charges. One Tehran daily reported that investigators had found $1 million in cash in one executive's home. On September 5, Iran Focus reported that Ahmadinejad (say "Ak-MOD-knee-jad") had replaced Nasseri on the Iran's nuclear negotiating team. The news that Naseri would not return to Iran was reported the next day.

As the U.S.-Iranian impasse grows, Tehran's investigation of Oriental Kish and its ties to Halliburton continues. I suspect we have not heard the last of this story.

By Jefferson Morley |  September 16, 2005; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Mideast
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

It's amazing that as members of the current
administration fan the flames of outrage in
terms of the "oil for food" scandal, it seems a mere distraction from the greater public outrage that would result if they ever learned of the possibly illegal activities of a corporation, namely Halliburton, that was formerly directed by
the now sitting vice-president of the USA. It is even more shameful that this corporation should be allowed to continue profit from in questionable 'no-bid' contracts related to the unfolding tragedies in Iraq and the Gulf Coast of
the US. Not to mention the scandal of over-charging US troup for gasoline on the
ground in Iraq, and the 8 billion in Iraq oil profits that have gone missing since the "transitional leadership" took charge of Iraq under Bremer. When will Halliburton's abuses be investigated?
Don't count on it anytime soon, at least
not until the current regime in
Washington has ceded the reigns of power.

Posted by: Sam Davidson | September 16, 2005 10:30 AM

An administration opposed to "big government" is entering in a big way in the reconstruction of the Gulf Coast. The contracts will be bagged by cronies and political appointees. The minimum wage requirement for workers has been set aside. A political advisor, Karl Rove, is appointed to direct the reconstruction efforts.

With such measures in place will corruption and favoritism be far away?

Once again, one man's misery is another man's gain - only in this case, it is a shameful gain.

Posted by: Lea | September 16, 2005 11:03 AM

Mr. Challawi:"These oysters are very raw - I like 'em!"
Mr. Nasseri:"Ah, yes, this Chateau Margaux is fine as well."
Mr. Challawi:"It does go well with the chicken, indeed! I like my oysters to be like my oil - crude and expensive. Who's paying for this anyway? Bremer? Wolfie?!"
Mr. Chaney:"Gentlemen, I see you started without me. Shoot, we ain't got no food like this in Wyoming. You SOB's! My two friends, Hallie and Burton, are getting angry, gosh darn it! Cyrus, get back to T-city and tell your new boss I ain't paying this much for caviar! And you, A-med, pump up the volume on those oil wells pronto, we got only three years and a few months left to get what we came for!"

Posted by: Mr. Zec | September 16, 2005 11:04 AM

I would be upset if Halliburton had somehow been involved in an Iranian nuclear program, but this is different. I understand that Halliburton is free to assist other countries with things like natural gas exploration as long as none of the people involved are US citizens. Would the people of the US rather give this sort of business to the French or others? Someone surely will be hired to do the work. Halliburton supports the oil companies in oil and gas exploration and equipment, and that is what they do for a living.

As for cronies, it is ridiculous for people to keep harping on the fact that Halliburton once was run by Dick Chency, who has not been there is six years. There were six no-bid contracts during the Clinton Administration, so was Clinton running Halliburton? I think now. Halliburton got the contracts since they were the only ones who could do the work or who wanted to do the work. As for repairing the oilfields in Iraq, Halliburton got one contract because the only other company interested in it, Bechtel, backed out and did not want it because it was too dangerous.

I also think that too many people do not understand the bias in certain newspapers.
They also do not know that not only was Halliburton clearned of any wrongdoing on the supposed overcharges with Kuwaiti gasoline, they were congratulated for their work. They were ordered to bring gasoline into Kuwait as fast as possible.
It cost a lot of money since Kuwait has a lot of petroleum, but does not refine it. The petroleum had to be sent to another country to be refined and it had to have lead added to it, which is required in Iraq, all at great cost. Then, the roads had to be rebuilt between Iraq and Kuwait since they had not been used in 12 years,
and truck drivers had to be hired. It was extremely dangerous for the drivers and 70 have been killed already. They had to pay these men a great deal more just to get them to go to Iraq and drive the trucks. Hiring local drivers does not work well since they sometimes leave with the truck.
Plus, it is much more expensive when fuel must be imported and it must be done as quickly as possible. What the newspapers never print is the fact that it was Halliburton itself that went looking for an alternated and cheaper supply of oil that could be transported into Iraq with less danger, and they found a new supply in Turkey at a fraction of the cost. Why was it cheaper???? You can guess. It was not dangerous, the roads did not have to be rebuilt, the gasoline was already refined, etc.

As for the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast, the contracts have been evenly distributed and bid for, and some were in place well before the hurricane hit due to previous hurricanes being in the same region. So to accuse anyone of "favoritism" is just crazy. Halliburton is a company of 100,000 employees who work hard to earn their money, and when it comes to corruption they have their own auditors that catch people, and there are one or two rotten apples out of 100,000 once in a while, and report them long before the government finds them.

What is shameful is that people make allegations without knowing the facts in the case.

Posted by: M. McKibbin | September 16, 2005 11:43 AM

What will it take for the people who voted for Bush to demand that the secrecy of this administration be highly investigated (and not by the republicans, but by a neutral outside group)? Haliburton and Cheney are just the tip of the iceberg. Our country is being sadly ripped off and we are paying dearly for it. aren't there any reporters anymore who are brave enough to make them answer the TOUGH questions.

Posted by: Joey Mccall | September 16, 2005 11:59 AM

Frankly, I never bought into this Axis of Evil rhetoric. We have nuclear weapons coming out of our ears, and I don't believe any of the countries mentioned are a threat to the Amderica. As Israel has nuclear weapons too, it would, at worst, be a standoff similar to the the one we had with the Soviet Union during the Cold War. I think it was, in part, an excuse to continue the "Star Wars" Missile Defense System for Boeing. Also, the Bush foreign policy was the same one Richard Perle and Co. proposed for the Netanyahu Government in 1996. As they are influential in the Bush administration , it was transfered to this administration. It is on the the web under the title "Clean Break". The Neoconservatives are still attempting to guide Isreali foreign policy using the "Orange Revolution" to keep all of Gaza and the West bank.

Posted by: P. J. Casey | September 16, 2005 01:27 PM

Ahmadinejad (say "Ak-MOD-knee-jad")
I'm curious... How did you come up with this pronunciation guide?! There's so many things wrong with it. There's no 'k' sound anywhere in this word and it's not "knee-jad" it's a short e sound in "ne-jad" and there's a short 'i' sound before nejad. It's really just like it's written.
Sorry to bug you about something that may seem very unimportant but an article in the Washington Post that goes the extra way and includes help for pronouncing the name of a country's president, should not be so wrong!

Posted by: Parastoo Ghodsi | September 16, 2005 01:56 PM

Ahmadinejad is pronounced, "Ah-madee-kne-jod".

Posted by: Morey P. | September 16, 2005 04:09 PM

Just echoing that Ahmadinejad (say "Ak-MOD-knee-jad") is wayyyy off. In fact, thats some other name right there with that pronounciation. There is no K sound. There is no Mod sound. And there is no Knee sound. It's simply:


Posted by: Seyede K. | September 20, 2005 01:29 PM

This should give you an idea of how the media is manipulated by the whitehouse.....Not a word on Haliburton abuses..Overcharging Gov't , putting civilians in harms way -knowingly, blocking depositions, by attorneys of drivers..giving out defense dept medals by having drivers sign a health form, that in tiny letters says they waive rights to hold Haliburton responsible for absolutely anything..(IF Haliburton is a private company how do they give out defense dept medals??) must have friends in high places!

Posted by: | September 24, 2006 04:25 AM

You can see the full video of the democratic hearing interviewing ex-Haliburton employess on CSPAN's web site
Senate Democratic Policy Cmte. on Contract Abuses in Iraq (9/18/2006)

Posted by: Grey Johnson | September 24, 2006 04:31 AM

All lawsuits re: Haliburton are being blocked by the whitehouse

Posted by: Bill Daniels | September 24, 2006 04:34 AM

Haliburton is overcharging the government and has more than once...isn't that

Posted by: Janet Blaylock | September 24, 2006 04:36 AM

Haliburton is overcharging the government and has more than once...isn't that

Posted by: Jim Bush | September 24, 2006 04:40 AM

I saw on CSPAN that Haliburton is or Kellog Brown also their company is an offshore company so they don't have to pay taxes!!

Posted by: Bill Graham | September 24, 2006 04:42 AM

IRAQ FOR SALE: The War ProfiteersIraq for Sale uncovers the connections between private corporations like Haliburton making a killing in Iraq and the decision makers who allow them to do so. ...
iraqforsale.org/ -

A Robert Greenwald film who did "Uncovered the whole truth about the Iraq War" and "Outfoxed" re foxnews

Posted by: Gabriel Lott | September 24, 2006 04:43 AM

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