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Iran eyes Lebanon's offshore oil reserves?

Nov. 8, 2010 at 8:34 AM

TEHRAN, Nov. 8 (UPI) -- Tehran believes its experience in the energy sector could help Lebanon tap into oil reserves in eastern Mediterranean waters, an official said.

Hassan Ahmadian Sahi, a director general of international development at Iran's Oil Ministry, told the semiofficial Fars News Agency that Tehran could help Beirut tap into its offshore oil reserves.

"The details and the value of the contract and other relevant issues are yet to be determined," he was quoted as saying. "We have not made any commitment in this regard yet because the feasibility studies should be conducted before we can involve in it."

Lebanon and Israel are at odds over the rights to tap into the Leviathan natural gas field. Beirut contends that a portion of Leviathan lies within its maritime borders. Hezbollah has told Israel not to touch Lebanon's resources, spurring threats of force from the Israelis.

Iranian legal officials maintain their counterparts in Lebanon have the right to exploit the natural resources that exist in its territorial waters.

"No contract has been held on oil exploration in Lebanon's joint oil field with the Zionist regime and the issue is merely at the level of a general understanding," Ahmad Khaledi, the deputy oil minister for international affairs, was quoted by Fars as saying.

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