Iran cracking door open for oil investors

Feb. 10, 2014 at 7:58 AM

TEHRAN, Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Sanctions on Iran will be lifted "eventually" and lawmakers have therefore started opening the door to investors, an Oil Ministry official said.

Shana, a state-owned official news agency, reported Sunday Iranian lawmakers authorized the Oil Ministry to sign buy-back agreements with private or state-owned investors worth as much as $5 billion for the next fiscal year, which in Iran starts March 21.

Iran's buy-back contracts call on companies to pay for exploration and work to recover costs through production.

Mehdi Hossein, a contracts supervisor for the Oil Ministry, said the contracts would help draw energy companies back to Iran as sanctions pressure eases.

"These sanctions will eventually be lifted, and therefore we have to prepare the grounds for this industry's interaction with the world," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying Monday.

Under the terms of an agreement reached in November with Western powers, Iran pledged to curb its nuclear enrichment program in exchange for modest relief from sanctions pressure. U.S. officials have testified that doesn't mean Iran is now open for business.

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