Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh says the Islamic Republic has begun talks with leading Western energy companies to attract them back to the country, Press TV reported.
In an interview with the Financial Times on Tuesday, Zanganeh said the Iranian Oil Ministry is in talks with European energy firms and "indirectly" with US groups to invite them back to Iran in case of a possible removal of US-led illegal sanctions against Iran's energy sector.
The Iranian minister further said the energy companies such as France's Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Italy's Eni and Norway's Statoil are among those he is seeking to bring back to Iran's energy sector, according to the report.
The Iranian minister made the remarks just two days after Tehran and the Sextet of world powers -- the US, Britain, Russia, China, France and Germany -- inked an interim deal in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24 to pave the way for the full resolution of the West's decade-old dispute with Tehran over its nuclear energy program.
In exchange for Tehran's confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the six countries agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Zanganeh further told the daily that he did not expect the recently-sealed deal to have any immediate impact on the country's exports, saying, "It (the deal) sends a positive signal to start negotiations."
Iran's share of South Pars, the world's largest gas field, constitutes a major attraction for European oil and gas firms.
In early November the chief executive of Total, Christophe de Margerie, said the company will "definitely" go back to Iran "when and if the sanctions are lifted."
Shell's outgoing chief executive, Peter Voser, also said last month that the Islamic Republic possesses "vast resources" of oil and gas.