Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Saturday for the development of his country's energy sector, the official IRNA agency said.
Each year, as part of his constitutional duties, the supreme leader of the Islamic republic outlines the country's main policies.
This year, Khamenei insisted on the need to "discover all of the country's (oil and gas) deposits".
On Friday, Tehran signed an agreement with a Swedish company to explore the Caspian Sea for oil, vowing not to let the unresolved legal status of the sea stop Iran from claiming its share of potentially vast energy reserves.
Iran signed a $226 million contract with Sweden's GVA Consultants. The company will build Tehran a submersible exploration platform expected to be up and running off the coastal town of Neka, in the northern Mazandaran province, in just under three years.
Khamenei said he also wants to change the oil export policy, with a shift of focus from crude to petrochemicals as well as the development of Iran's natural gas field.
In the non-oil energy sector, the nuclear industry was at the top of Khamenei's priorities. Iran's supreme leader called for "efforts to obtain nuclear science and the construction of new power stations".
The Iranian nuclear energy organisation announced Friday that the southern Bushehr power station, built in cooperation with Russia, will be operational within a year.
Iran says its nuclear programme is purely civilian and is regularly inspected by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
The United States accuses Tehran of seeking to acquire nuclear weapons and wishes to block Iran from receiving any high-tech military assistance from third countries such as Russia.—AFP.
(c) –Agence France Presse 2001.
© 2001 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)