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Iran and France's Total are negotiating for cooperation in a LNG (liquefied natural gas) project, Rokneddin Javadi, Iran's deputy oil minister said.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Total have held talks for cooperation in Iran LNG project, however no decision was made so far on the issue, Javadi, who head the NIOC, said.

He expressed hope that the talks would be concluded as soon as possible.

If the talks are concluded the project most likely will be handed over to Total, Javadi said.

Financing the project remains as the biggest challenge of the Iran LNG project, he added.

Iran LNG is a $3.3 billion project to produce 10.5 million tons of liquefied gas per year which has lingered for years amid international sanctions against Tehran.

It is 60 percent complete, according to officials, pending imports of new equipment and structures to bring it online.

It was earlier announced that the National Iranian Gas Exports Company (NIGEC), which holds 49 percent share of the project is in talks with foreign firms to sell part of its shares.

Along with Iran Oil Pension Fund which holds the remaining 51 percent, NIGEC hopes to complete the project in just under three years, making the country's first LNG exports ready for the market.

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