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Belarus, Iran Sign Deal to Develop Iranian Oil Field

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko says he has signed a deal with Iran to jointly develop an oil field in the Islamic Republic.

Mr. Lukashenko announced the deal Monday in Minsk, following talks with visiting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The leaders gave no details of the project at the Jofeir oil field.

Mr. Lukashenko early this year said his country would seek to develop new energy sources, after a pricing dispute with Russia briefly interrupted cross-border energy supplies.

A joint statement issued after the talks said the two leaders also reached agreement on technology and trade deals.

Western officials have widely criticized Mr. Lukashenko for his government's poor human rights record and for its ongoing crackdown on the independent news media, frequently referring to him as Europe's last dictator.

Mr. Ahmadinejad is locked in a stand-off with the West over Iran's suspected nuclear program.

The United Nations Security Council has imposed limited sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt its uranium enrichment efforts.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters and AFP.