of State Department's energy office to step down
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[June 14, 2014]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The head of
the State Department's office in charge of energy diplomacy will step
down in August after playing a key role in getting countries such as
China, India and Japan to cooperate with Western sanctions on Iran,
officials said on Friday.
Carlos Pascual became an important player in Washington's effort
to place tough new sanctions on Iran over its disputed nuclear
program soon after the bureau of energy resources was launched in
The State Department said Pascual had decided to return to private
He traveled to countries in Asia, Europe and the Middle East with
officials from the Departments of Treasury and Commerce to ease the
way for sanctions that slashed oil production from one of OPEC's top
The sanctions have halved Iran's oil sales since mid-2012 in efforts
by the Washington and the European Union to cut funding to the
country's nuclear program. The West suspects the program aims to
develop a weapon. Iran says the program is for peaceful purposes.
Pascual also led the bureau as the United States became a far larger
producer of oil and gas. Soon the United States is expected to be
the biggest oil producer, surpassing both Russia and Saudi Arabia,
which opens up questions about how Washington will handle the new
He was formerly ambassador to Mexico and to Ukraine, where he has
traveled since Russia invaded and annexed Crimea and worked to find
it alternative fuel sources.
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His successor could face tough energy diplomacy issues on multiple
stages, including in Iraq, where insurgents this week have been
taking over cities in the north.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)
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