Iran hopes for total lifting of sanctions by December
TEHRAN - Iran's deputy oil minister said Monday he hoped for a total lifting of international sanctions later this year if a nuclear deal is struck with world powers by June 30.
Amirhossein Zamani-Nia also told the oil ministry's Shana news agency that the lifting of sanctions could help Iran's oil and gas sectors attract billions of dollars in foreign investment.
"The structure of sanctions is being destroyed bit by bit and we could expect a total lifting of the sanctions towards the month of Azar," which in Iran falls between November 22 and December 21, he said.
"If the sanctions are lifted, Iran will become a central point for oil and gas projects," Zamani-Nia said.
The oil ministry has projects to inject $200 billion in the energy sector over the next six years, he said.
"Such a level of investment will be very attractive" for foreign firms, he added.
The UN Security Council adopted six resolutions, four of which imposed sanctions, against Iran's nuclear and missile programmes between 2006 and 2010.
Since 2012, the United States and the European Union have also applied a series of unilateral sanctions that specifically target the energy and banking sectors.
In early April, Tehran and six world powers concluded a framework agreement aimed at paving the way for a final nuclear agreement by the end of June.
The deal is aimed at preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons in exchange for an easing of the sanctions.
The United States, one of the six world powers negotiating with Iran along with Britain, China, France, Russia and Germany, has said sanctions would be lifted in stages as the deal is implemented.
But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran would not sign any final agreement unless all sanctions, which have battered the economy, are lifted on the day the deal is signed.
Political and technical experts from both sides held talks on drafting the text in Vienna on Friday, with negotiations due to resume on Tuesday in the Austrian capital.