TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan will begin negotiations with Iran on a bilateral investment pact next week, Japan said on Friday, and aims for agreement as soon as possible to allow Japanese companies to rebuild a presence in the oil-rich country.
Iran reached a landmark pact in July with the United States, Germany, France, Russia, China and Britain on limiting it nuclear programme to ensure it is not put to making bombs in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.
Since then, international delegations have been flocking to Teheran seeking business in the biggest economy to rejoin the global trading and financial system since the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Japan will decide on its sanctions, which include a ban on new investment in Iranian oil and gas projects, while watching other countries’ moves, a Japanese foreign ministry official said.
Japan’s delegation at three days of talks in Teheran beginning on Monday will be led by Masaaki Kanai, head of the Foreign Ministry’s second Middle East division, the ministry said in news release.
“We are aiming to reach an agreement as soon as possible, but nothing is definite,” the official said.
The vice minister of Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Daishiro Yamagiwa, visited Teheran last month with executives from oil companies and trading houses, and met top government officials.
Companies with representatives in Yamagiwa’s delegation included trading firm Itochu Corp (8001.T) and Inpex Corp (1605.T), Japan’s biggest energy explorer which in 2010 was forced to give up a stake in Iran’s Azadegan oil field because of sanctions.
Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Robert Birsel