Iran would have no problem accepting American dollars if that money assisted in the redevelopment of its aging oil and gas industry.
“In general, we have no problem with the presence of American companies in Iran,”Iranian oil minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said on Sunday. His comment was made after confirming that the country’s officials are in talks with General Electric.
“It is the American government which is creating restrictions for these companies,” the Iranian oil minister said, according to the state-run Press TV.
Following a landmark nuclear deal, officials in the country are staging a big comeback. They have promised to increase oil production by 1 million barrels per day.
However, years of economic isolation have left Iran’s energy infrastructure seriously outdated and often damaged.
This isn’t the first time Iran has targeted international investments. In January French oil giant Total signed a memorandum of understanding to buy crude oil from Iran and weigh potential investments in the country’s oil industry.
Navigating deals with Iranian oil is still a tough business. The US still has sanctions in place that block most American companies from investing in Iran.
Even if American companies managed to navigate the tough terrain of doing business in Iran, many hardliners are likely to push back against the West’s involvement in the countries most financially reliable export.
Zangeneh has regularly had to fend of conservatives who believe he is pandering to much to outside forces.
Even if a deal is reached, it’s unclear how much a company like General Electric would be willing to invest during a time when oil prices remain low, and a supply glut continues to punish investors all over the world.
General Electric () confirmed in a statement that it has “begun looking at potential business opportunities in Iran, while fully complying with the rules laid out by the U.S. government.”
GE also wants to make deals with Iran’s aviation industry. GE has requested permission from the US to sell commercial aircraft engines, parts and services to Iranian air carriers.