US demands to see Swiss-Iran gas contract

The US has demanded to see a Swiss contract for natural gas supplies from Iran to see whether it violates an American sanctions law against Teheran, the US Embassy in Switzerland said Sunday. A posting on the US Embassy Web site raises the question of whether neutral Switzerland's position as representative of American interests in Iran and Cuba could be affected. "At this time, the Swiss have a mandate as our protecting power in Cuba and Iran," the Web site said in response to a "frequently asked question" on whether the Swiss role was "in jeopardy." The Swiss have represented US interests in Havana since diplomatic relations with Cuba were broken nearly 50 years ago, and in Teheran since Iranian militants seized the US Embassy in 1979. The Swiss Foreign Ministry declined to comment on the embassy posting. Washington, which has already objected to the deal as violating the spirit of UN sanctions against Iran, made a formal request to see the contract March 17, the US Embassy said on its Web site.