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Oil Minister Says Foreign Countries Refusing To Sign Agreements With Iran

Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh, Iran's Oil Minister, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a ceremony to announce new oil and gas contracts. July 20, 2020.

Iran's Oil Minister on Monday told reporters that all foreign countries are now refusing to sign agreements with Iran in all areas due to the U.S. sanctions and are even discontinuing existing contracts.

Bijan Namdar-Zanganeh said a previously negotiated agreement with India to develop the offshore Farzad gas field shared with Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, has been cancelled because no country is willing to sign agreements with Iran in any area and added: "We need to rely on our own domestic capacities".

Zanganeh made the remarks when making the announcement that a $1.3 billion deal for the development of South Azadegan oil field has been awarded to Petropars Engineering and Development, an Iranian company, to boost its production capacity to 320,000 barrels per day from 140,000 over a period of 30 months.

Responding to a question about a 25-year pact with China, the Oil Minister said in oil sector there will be "long-term cooperation in development of gas and oil fields as well as petrochemical and refining industries" but refuted the claims that concessions have been made to China.

The planned deal with China has caused massive negative reactions by the Iranian public and social media users who have described it as "a sell-out of Iran".

Zanganeh also defended the agreement with China and said it is a 25-year road map and will be put to the vote of the Parliament after being finalized.

The final draft proposal of the agreement with China was approved in a meeting of the cabinet ministers on June 21. There has been no official reaction from China, who generally abides by U.S. sanctions on Iran.

Zanganeh told reporters that Iran is ready "to sign similar cooperation road maps with all countries except Israel". He also claimed that Iran has not excluded the United States from its gas and oil fields, as contractors or investors. "It's them who have limited themselves," he said.

Regarding the lawsuit against China's CNPC which in 2014 was expelled after a five-year delay in implementation of a deal to develop Azadegan oil field, Zanganeh said: "some meetings have been held and agreements have been reached in some areas but generally relations with China good and without tension".