While Iran is developing its oil and gas fields, the country’s Deputy Oil Minister for International Affairs, Amirhossein Zamaninia, said that American sanctions are making cooperation between the two nations impossible.

In a speech, Zamaninia said that Tehran has not imposed any restriction for American oil firms to engage in energy projects in his country, but the US does. He stated:

“Iran is open to cooperate with US companies in its key petroleum industry, yet as long as the so-called primary US sanctions, which bar direct or indirect trade between Iranian and American individuals or entities, are in place, US firms cannot play any role in Iran’s oil and gas industry.”

According to the minister, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) is going to announce new contracts to develop oil and gas in the middle of February this year, which will be a first since international sanctions were lifted in 2016.

Nevertheless, the official downplayed the effect of the US sanctions against Iranian individuals and entities, noting that they have had no impact on the ongoing talks between the NIOC and some European and Asian companies.

However, he said that a rekindling trade relationship between Iran and the US would be good for the latter. He stated that it would be “a great benefit for the American people, for creating jobs there in the US, for revitalizing the oil and gas business there … there is great potential for engagement and partnership in Iran for American companies.”

Overall, Iran hopes to draw foreign businesses to invest and help boost its production after a difficult time of under-investment.