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Iran reaches out to Russian on oil, gas

Sept. 4, 2012 at 7:49 AM

MOSCOW, Sept. 4 (UPI) -- The Iranian government is interested in working with Russian companies in the oil and natural gas sector, the Iranian oil minister said from Moscow.

Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said Iran was producing around 4 million barrels of oil per day. Half of that, he said, was for exports.

He told Russia's state-run news agency RIA Novosti that he was looking forward to positive results from his approach with his Russian counterparts.

"We welcome cooperation with Russian companies if they are ready to invest in Iran's oil and gas sector and develop oil and gas deposits," he was quoted as saying. "However, at present we do not have any joint projects."

Moscow has been wary of working in the Iranian oil and natural gas sector because of sanctions imposed on Tehran by the U.S. and European governments. Those allies suspect Iran is financing its controversial nuclear program with revenue generated from oil and natural gas sales.

Qasemi said Tehran aimed to use money from a national stabilization fund to develop its oil and natural gas industries.

Oil exports from Iran have declined substantially since Western sanctions went into force during the summer.

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