The Gulf sultanate of Oman is in talks to buy Iranian gas in a 25-year deal worth around $60 billion, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on Tuesday.
Zanganeh said Iran and Oman had "signed a memorandum of understanding for the construction of a gas pipeline" under the Sea of Oman, on the east of the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the official IRNA news agency reported.
The construction would "soon" commence once "research on different routes" is completed, he said while hailing the agreement as "the largest economic deal" between Iran and Oman, which enjoys good ties with Tehran unlike other Gulf countries.
Iran is subject to various US and European sanctions on its energy sector, as well as on its access to the global banking system, over its disputed nuclear programme.
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Western countries and Israel accuse Iran of seeking the capacity to build nuclear weapons, which Tehran vehemently denies.
Zanganeh said the estimated value of the contract was around $60 billion, based on current gas prices.
His remarks came after talks with Omani officials during a visit by Oman's Sultan Qaboos, who left Tehran on Tuesday.
During his previous tenure as Iran's oil minister under reformist ex-president Mohammad Khatami, Zanganeh signed a 25-year deal with the UAE's Crescent Petroleum in 2001 for the export of gas from one of Iran's many off-shore fields.
Nothing was ever exported, however, over disagreements over the price of gas.