Indian delegation to visit Iran for oil talks

An Indian delegation is expected to visit Iran this week to discuss investment opportunities in Iran’s oil industry as investment prospects in the country improve following a recent understanding with the P5+1 group over Tehran’s nuclear program.

Officials from India’s finance and oil ministries, speaking on condition of anonymity, were quoted on Thursday as saying that executive officials from ONGC Videsh and Mangalore Refinery and Petrochemicals Ltd will be part of the delegation and are expected to meet with Iranian counterparts on Saturday.

India is the biggest customer of Iran’s crude oil after China, but its imports from Tehran relatively decreased in recent years as a result of sanctions imposed on Iran by Western countries.

The sanctions were imposed at the beginning of 2012 by the US and EU claiming that there is a military aspect to Iran’s peaceful nuclear program, an allegation Iran categorically rejected.

The Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of countries – the US, the UK, France, Germany, Russia and China – reached an interim agreement on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program in the Swiss city of Geneva last November, which led to relative loosening of sanctions against Iran, paving the way for further cooperation in various economic fields between Iran and other countries.

The two sides also reached a mutual understanding on April 2 in the Swiss city of Lausanne, which is considered a prelude to the achievement of a comprehensive deal before a self-designated deadline at the end of June. A key point of Lausanne statement was a promise to lift a series of economic sanctions on Iran – including those on the country’s oil industry.

Following the Lausanne understanding Iran’s oil industry officials said international companies have voiced interest in taking up projects in the country’s oil industry.

On April 4, Deputy Petroleum Minister for International Affairs Amir-Hossein Zamaninia said the country’s Ministry of Petroleum has received investment proposals from “a certain number of companies as well as countries.”

Zamaninia further emphasized that the priority for Iran will be to first increase its oil production at the earliest time possible, adding, “To achieve this, we will have to focus our efforts on sales, investment and technology.”

By Press TV