Iran buys pipes for oil sector in $615 mln deal with Spain's Tubacex

BEIRUT, May 24 (Reuters) - Iran has signed a contract worth more than 550 million euros ($615 million) with Spain’s Tubacex to buy corrosion resistant alloy (CRA) pipes for its oil industry, the oil ministry’s news agency reported on Wednesday.

The contract was signed with Iran’s Foolad Isfahan company which will take over production of the pipes completely within three years, the SHANA agency reported. The deal will lead to the production of 600 kilometers of pipe.

Iranian oil minister Bijan Zanganeh said CRA pipes were extremely difficult to obtain while sanctions were still in place. An agreement between Iran and Western powers led to a number of sanctions being lifted in January 2016 in exchange for curbs on the country’s nuclear programme.

“If sanctions were still in place we would not have been able to sign such a deal,” Zanganeh said, according to SHANA.

Anton Azlor, a Tubacex director, said the deal had taken approximately a year and half to negotiate and that the company is interested in doing more work in Iran, SHANA reported.

Zanganeh said that the signing of the deal had been delayed until after Iran’s presidential election so that the oil ministry would not be accused of trying to sway the results.

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani was re-elected on Friday with 57 percent of the vote. ($1 = 0.8947 euros) (Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; editing by Alexander Smith)