Having no answers to nagging Minnesota issues like decrepit bridges, Gov. Pawlenty diverts attention by tackling Iran's oil construction projects. I am sure Ahmadinejad is quaking in Teheran as a Minnesota governor insists that "he needs assurances from investor, Essar Global Ltd., that the company will abide by U.S. sanctions."
The only result of this gubernatorial bravado could be to lose a $1.6 billion taconite mill on the Iron Range and a lot of good jobs. Essar Global is a major multinational with more than 3,000 U.S. employees, Algoma Steel of Sault Ste. Marie, Ont, etc. They do have projects in Iran, as do companies from Sweden, Austria, Germany, Italy, China, Russia, and South Africa. Is our governor going to block any programs with companies from those countries?
Karim Wahid, Iraq's Electricity Minister, has announced that Iran will build two electric power plants for Iraq, one in Sadr city, and the other between Karbala and Najaf (New York Times, 10/17). There was no mention of these plans being submitted to Gov. Pawlenty for his approval.
As a signer of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, Iran has the right to nuclear power for peaceful purposes. Iran is also obligated to conclude an inspection agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to verify its peaceful intent, a matter for our state Department. "Iran is ready to discuss all the outstanding issues which triggered the crisis in confidence," Mohamed ElBaradei, IAEA director general, said recently in an interview (London Guardian, 9/19).
Our governor has plenty to do here on the Iron Range.
Rolf E. Westgard
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