Iran Dangles Oil Carrot to Win Support

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"The strategy is not new for Iran, where the impact of the U.S. sanctions has been amplified by crude oil's price plummet."

Saddled with slumping oil prices, U.S. sanctions and economic troubles, Iran appears to be pushing to entice foreign investment in its energy sector in a bid to woo allies abroad and secure political support at home as its hard-line president faces an upcoming re-election battle.

In the latest in a series of such steps, Iranian Oil Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari said the OPEC member, which sits on 16% of the world's proven gas reserves, wants to develop its proposed Persian pipeline project - a venture that would feed gas to Europe via links in Iraq and Syria.

The report highlights Iran's push to win support in Europe, which was hard hit by a natural gas shortage sparked by a Russian-Ukranian dispute this winter. It follows other oil and gas agreements involving China and Russia, two powerful U.N. Security Council members that have adopted softer tones concerning Iran's controversial nuclear program. The West believes the nuclear program is aimed at developing weapons, which Iran denies.

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