DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran does not expect to raise its oil exports immediately after Sunday's nuclear deal, but is in talks with potential western investors in its energy industry, Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh told the Financial Times newspaper.
Iran and six world powers reached a deal on Sunday to curb Tehran's nuclear programme in exchange for limited sanctions relief.
A senior Iranian industry official had said on Tuesday that the deal should make it easier to export Iran's oil, thanks largely to plans to ease a European shipping insurance ban.
But Zangeneh told the FT in an interview he did not expect any immediate impact on Iran's crude oil exports.
European Union (EU) officials said on Monday that some sanctions on Iran might be relaxed in December, but it could be January before the necessary legislative changes are made.
U.S. and EU sanctions that have slashed Tehran's oil exports from 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) to around 1 million remain in place and Washington has said it will not allow exports to rise for at least six months.
Iran is home to some of the world's largest oil and gas reserves, but U.S. energy firms have been barred by Washington from Iran for nearly two decades.
Many of Europe's biggest oil and gas companies had planned multi-billion dollar investments to help develop Iranian reserves. But U.S. pressure drove them away from Iran in the late 2000s for fear of jeopardising their U.S. interests.
Strict Western bans on any investments in Iran's energy sector remain firmly in place.
But Zangeneh told the FT he had already met with European companies and "indirectly" with U.S. groups to prepare for the day when they might be allowed back in by their governments.
(Reporting by Daniel Fineren; Editing by David Holmes)
- Politics & Government