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Iran has signed a preliminary agreement with state-controlled Russian energy giant Gazprom Neft to develop two oil fields.

The National Iranian Oil Company and Gazprom signed the memorandum of understanding at a December 13 ceremony in Tehran attended by Russian Energy Minister Aleksandr Novak.

The deal opens the way for the Russian firm to study the potential of the Cheshmeh-Khosh and Changuleh oil fields near the border with Iraq.

It added to five other oil fields that have already been earmarked for Russian firms LUKoil, Tatneft, and Zarubezhneft, Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh said.

Iran boosted crude sales this year after they were curbed for years by sanctions over its nuclear program, and recently announced a number of initial energy deals with foreign firms, including Shell and Total.

Based on reporting by AFP, Bloomberg, TASS, and Shana
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