In an exclusive interview with the Sharq newspaper on Tuesday, Mehdi Hosseini said, "Now that [Iran’s nuclear] talks have reached a sensitive point, if the U.S. oil companies take position and action against the letter [signed] by 47 senators, we will reward them.”
"We know that the U.S. oil companies are not happy with the letter of 47 senators against the nuclear talks,” Hosseini said.
"The U.S. oil companies face more serious restrictions on presence in Iran, but they can take position. The pulses received from them show that they are willing to operate projects in Iran,” he added.
Hosseini said oil companies flocked to Iraq "in a frenzied way” in 2005 after international sanctions against that country were lifted.
He added that the U.S. companies are "not happy at all” because of having missed such a big market as Iran.
In a letter last week, a group of 47 Republican senators ignored protocol and sent an open letter to Iran’s leaders, warning that the Congress would ultimately walk away from any agreement Iran may reach with President Barack Obama.
The surprise letter, which elicited strong condemnation in the U.S., came as Iran and the 5+1 world power are engaged in intensive talks to reach a permanent accord on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.
IPC forum tied to nuclear talks
Hosseini said the date of a conference Iran is planning to hold in London to introduce its new type of oil contracts depends on the outcome of Iran’s negotiations with the world powers.
"The objective of the [planned] seminar is to introduce the new model of contracts and new opportunities for investment in Iran’s petroleum industry, but we have no option but to consider political aspects because economic issues are tied to the [issue of] sanctions,” he said.
He added that many European oil companies "are queuing for our oil contracts.”
The committee, led by Hosseini, has been modifying the terms of oil contracts in order to sweeten them for foreign companies. The new model, known as Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC), is replacing buyback deals.
Under a buyback deal, the host government agrees to pay the contractor an agreed price for all volumes of hydrocarbons the contractor produces.
But under the IPC, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will set up joint ventures for crude oil and gas production with international companies which will be paid with a share of the output.