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Iranian press review: Oil sector needs 'urgent investment' to avoid energy imports

Meanwhile, the luggage of Iran's football team has been the subject of controversy in Lebanon; and a lawmaker accuses officials of spending most of their time abroad
A man fills his car with petrol at a gas station in the Iranian capital Tehran, 27 October 2021 (AFP)

Oil sector needs $160bn investment

Officials at Iran's oil ministry and energy experts warned that the oil-rich country would have no choice other than importing oil, gas, and petrochemical products if the establishment failed to invest in these industries.

Due to the US sanctions on Iran's oil and petrochemical industries, Tehran has failed to renew the infrastructures in these industries, which are Tehran's primary sources of income.

Local media quoted Iran's oil minister, Javad Oji, as stressing that Iran's oil and gas industries need an immediate investment of about $160bn to save the country from importing oil and gas.

"During the past years, the necessary investment in the oil and gas industries did not take place, and if we do not invest in these fields, we would soon be an importer of these products," Oji said.

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Meanwhile, Mohsen Khojasteh-Mehr, director of Iran's national oil company, warned that Iran would become a gas importer in four years if it did not meet a $30bn investment in technologies to improve gas exploitation, Eghtesad Online reported. 

The ISNA news agency reported that during the past eight years, Iran's refineries lost 11 percent of their capacity due to a lack of investment in developing its infrastructures and updating its technologies.

Iran has become 'second home' to officials

Iranian legislator Alireza Salimi, in a rare criticism of officials, said that high-ranking figures spend most of their time abroad instead of living and working in Iran.

"One of the issues our country faces is that Iran is the second home to some officials, and they think the solution for all our problems could be found in a few western countries," he was quoted as saying by Quds Online.

'It has become a normality in [Iran] to employ high-ranking managers who have dual citizenship, or their wives and children live in another country'

- Shargh daily

"In the previous government, some officials who had positions as high as deputy ministers or served as directors of important national organisations used Tehran's air pollution as a pretext to go to Geneva and Vienna for two or three months. But then they stayed there longer," he added.

Salimi claimed that those politicians had been "theorising solutions for Iran and giving interviews" while living abroad in western countries.

Following the remarks by the conservative legislator, the pro-reformist Shargh daily also urged the establishment to reveal the names and positions of officials who have dual citizenship or whose first-degree relatives live abroad.

"It has become a normality in the country to employ high-ranking managers who have dual citizenship, or their wives and children live in another country," the daily wrote.

"Europe and the US are the places where the children of many high-ranking conservative and reformist policymakers live," the daily added.

Shargh wrote that according to a report by Iran's Ministry of Intelligence, 210 high-ranking managers in Iran had dual citizenship in former president Hassan Rouhani's administration.

Iran football team luggage row

Iran's judicial system news agency Mizan has published a report to refute the allegations that the luggage of the Iranian football team in Lebanon had "US dollars and drones" for Iran-backed groups in the country.

The team travelled to the country last week to attend the World Cup qualifiers match with Lebanon, which Iran won 2-1.

The Iranian paper published photos of suitcases of the players at Beirut airport, packed with socks, national team jerseys and winter coats.

Photos of Iran's national football team at Beirut's international airport have been widely shared on social media accounts in Lebanon, claiming that Iran used the footballers' luggage to transfer US dollars and drones to Lebanon.

"Some Iranian and Lebanese social media users and activists have raised doubts that [the luggage] were used to transfer 'dollar' and 'drone pieces' to Hezbollah," Iran International wrote on Twitter.

However, Mizan pointed out that "Iran's national team had to play in two matches in a row outside Iran, first in Beirut with Lebanon national team, and then in Amman with Syria's national team. For this reason, the team had to carry all it needed for two matches."

According to the Saudi-owned Arab News, Lebanon's Interior Minister Bassam Mawlawi instructed airport security to investigate the luggage.

*Iranian press review is a digest of news reports not independently verified as accurate by Middle East Eye

Middle East Eye delivers independent and unrivalled coverage and analysis of the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. To learn more about republishing this content and the associated fees, please fill out this form. More about MEE can be found here.