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How Iran's new petroleum contracts are producing more than oil

Criticism of the general terms of the new Iran Petroleum Contract do not appear to be based on sound legal reasoning, but is rather the result of factionalism ahead of upcoming elections.
An Iranian worker speaks into a radio on an oil production platform at the Soroush oil fields in the Persian Gulf, 1,250 km (776 miles) south of the capital Tehran, July 25, 2005. Picture taken July 25, 2005. REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi  CJF/KS - RTRIU0Y

After Iran and the six world powers signed the nuclear deal last summer, the Iranian Cabinet on Sept. 30 approved the general terms for new upstream oil and gas contracts, known as the Iran Petroleum Contract. The aim? Facilitating the inflow of foreign investment. The Oil Ministry presented the Iran Petroleum Contract to more than 300 major international energy investors at the Nov. 28-29 Tehran Summit. However, it seems that parliament is not yet in full agreement with the general terms of the new oil contract.  

On Jan. 4, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zangeneh said that the parliament’s Committee for the Evaluation of Government Acts’ Compliance with the Law had approved the general terms of the Iran Petroleum Contract, and that work related to the contract had therefore been “finalized.” However, two days later, nine members of the parliamentary committee denied that they had evaluated the general terms. Further twisting the situation, the parliamentary committee does not actually have the power to change the legal status of the general terms of the contract, which have already been approved by the Cabinet.

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