TEHRAN, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Working with regional partners on developing joint oil and gas reserves is mutually beneficial, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said.
Rouhani met in Tehran with representatives from the Oil Ministry during a surprise visit Monday. He said developing oil and natural gas fields along its shared borders was a national interest for his administration.
"The issue of joint oil and gas reserves and utilizing these resources is a priority [for this] government," he was quoted by the semiofficial Fars News Agency as saying. "We stretch out our hand towards everyone who performs the task cheaper and better."
More than 20 oil fields straddle the Iranian border with Iraq. The giant South Pars natural gas field in the Persian Gulf straddles the maritime border between Iran and Qatar.
Rouhani offered no prospects for when work could begin with neighboring countries, though he said some were extracting more reserves from their side of the border than Iran.
Rouhani told delegates at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, last month his economy was opening up as a result of last year's interim nuclear deal with Western powers.
Iran gets sanctions relief in exchange for curbing its nuclear enrichment activity under the terms of the nuclear deal. However, U.S. officials have said Iran is not "open for business."