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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 August 2006, 17:15 GMT 18:15 UK
Iran and Romania defuse oil row
Iran map
Romania says it accepts that a row with Iran over a Romanian oil rig in the Gulf was of a purely commercial nature.

On Wednesday, the Romanian government reacted angrily to reports that the Iranian military had fired on the rig's crew before police seized it.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad later discussed the incident by phone with Romanian President Traian Basescu.

Mr Basescu's office said they agreed that the incident was "of a commercial nature".

Mr Ahmadinejad told him it was "not an act of hostility", the statement said.

Romania's oil firm GSP earlier said Iranian troops had seized the Orizont rig after firing from a nearby ship.

It also said that 26 of its workers there were being held.

Trading accusations

Mr Ahmadinejad told Mr Basescu that the seizure was a trade dispute "involving procedures in line with Iranian legislation," the Romanian presidential office said.

Tehran earlier said it acted to prevent an act of banditry by stopping GSP from towing its rig out of Iranian waters.

GSP said the allegations were "fabricated", adding that Tehran's actions amounted to piracy.

GSP chief Garbriel Comanescu said the Orizont rig had been moored near Kish island since October 2005. GSP also operates another rig off Kish.

The rigs are operated under a deal signed between Petrom, GSP and Dubai-based Oriental Oil Co.


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