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Iran advisory body approves new oil and gas contract - Tasnim

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a news conference in Islamabad, Pakistan, March 26, 2016. REUTERS/Faisal Mahmood/File Photo

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s new oil and gas contract was approved on Tuesday after some amendments by the Resistance Economy Headquarters, a top government economic advisory body, the Fars and Tasnim news agencies reported.

The Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) is a cornerstone of the country’s plan to raise crude production through foreign investment.

The launch of contracts has been postponed several times as hardline rivals of pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani resisted any deal that could end the buy-back system, dating back more than 20 years, under which foreign firms are banned from booking reserves or taking equity stakes in local companies.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said this month that no new oil and gas contracts will be awarded without necessary reforms.

The approval of the contracts by the Resistance Economy Headquarters is important as the advisory body was formed last year to implement Khamenei’s economic views.

The body is chaired by the first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri and several cabinet members, including the oil minister, attend its meetings.

The final draft for the contracts must still be approved by the government.

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; editing by Jason Neely and Adrian Croft