TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran and its southern Arab neighbor have signed a draft agreement to build a pipeline for the export of Iranian natural gas.

Iran's official IRNA news agency says the memorandum of understanding was signed between Iran's Oil Minister, Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and his Omani counterpart in Tehran Monday. The report did not provide further details but said the two sides agreed to begin construction of the pipeline "in a short period of time."

The deal comes as Omani Sultan Qaboos is visiting Iran for discussions focusing on bilateral and international affairs. Qaboos' visit has raised hopes that Omani mediation could help ease tensions between Iran and Western powers over Tehran's disputed nuclear program.

Iran has the world's largest gas reserves after Russia and is a major gas exporter.

 

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