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Iran Wants West To Invest in Oil

July 2, 1998

LONDON (AP) _ Iran is trying to revitalize its oil industry by seeking investors from a source that once would have been unthinkable _ the West.

The Iranians, who don’t plan to privatize state-owned oil fields, are courting outside investment at a conference this week in London.

The nation is offering outsiders a chance to invest in more than two dozen production projects worth about $7 billion, said Farah Rahimi, Iran’s minister of international affairs, said Wednesday.

The projects involve both exploration of new fields and finding ways to pump more oil from existing fields, Rahimi said. The first deal will be put up for grabs on Aug. 3 in Tehran, he said.

The U.S. government bars American companies from investing in Iran’s oil sector. It has threatened sanctions against international companies doing business with Iran, but has recently softened its position toward the longtime foe.

One British oil executive said Wednesday that U.S. sanctions would be unsustainable.

``We are a U.K. company and we do not accept that a foreign government can tell us what to do,″ said Tim Eggar, a former British energy minister who now is chief executive of Monument Oil and Gas PLC.