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Iran calls foreign firms to return to oil sector

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Staff writer ▼ | February 6, 2014
Iran oilIran urged foreign companies to return to its oil sector Tuesday as a major French business delegation visited Tehran in the hope Western sanctions may soon be lifted.

In a speech to the delegation, Deputy Oil Minister Ali Majedi said Iran's latest five-year plan, running from 2010-2015, calls for $230 billion (170 billion euros) of investment in its petroleum industry, of which $150 billion would go to upstream activities, according to the official IRNA news agency.

In his remarks to dozens of representatives from the French employers' union Medef, Mr. Majedi added that Iran was reviewing its contracts to encourage foreign investment.

Mr. Majedi said nearly all downstream projects, for refineries and distribution, would be offered on a build-operate-transfer (BOT) or build-own-operate-transfer (BOOT) basis. Major oil companies have steered clear of Iran in recent years because of strict Western sanctions aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear activities.

Western countries have long suspected Iran of covertly pursuing nuclear weapons alongside its uranium enrichment programme, allegations denied by Iran.

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