TEHRAN, July 9 (UPI) -- Iran's deputy minister for gas affairs said Wednesday he was expecting Russia to start investing in the Iranian natural gas industry.
Deputy Minister for Gas Affairs Hamid-Reza Araqi said Russian companies may be interested in building natural gas pipelines in Iran.
Both sides, he said, "are determined to boost their cooperation" in the gas industry.
Iranian and Russian officials met in April to discuss upgrading Iran's power plants and electrical transmission lines.
The U.S. State Department has said direct energy cooperation between Iran and Russia "would be of concern."
Iran is under pressure for its controversial nuclear program, while the U.S. government and its allies have expressed frustration with Russia's stance on geopolitical issues in Syria and Ukraine.
Both sides already work together in the nuclear sector, with Russia supplying fuel for Iran's Bushehr nuclear facility.
Iran last year said it would to bring more foreign investors into its energy sector.