Russian state energy company Gazprom has agreed to help Iran further develop its oil and natural gas fields.

The two sides signed the agreement Sunday during a visit to Tehran by a Gazprom delegation, led by chief executive Alexei Miller.

In the agreement, Gazprom expressed interest in further developing Iran's South Pars gas field and in cooperating on oil projects in Iran's Azadegan region and the Caspian Sea.

Gazprom also said it may help build a pipeline to deliver Iranian gas to India and Pakistan. Tehran has been seeking Russian energy investment to compensate for Western companies pulling out of Iran under pressure from Western governments.

Also Sunday, Iran's oil minister announced the discovery of a new oil field in southwestern Iran's Khuzestan region. Gholam Hossein Nozari said the oil field holds 1.1 billion barrels of crude oil, of which 233 million barrels are recoverable.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Sunday that Iran wants to expand ties with Russia in oil and gas as much as possible. Under Sunday's agreement, Gazprom and Iran will form working groups to implement the proposed joint projects.

French energy giant Total said last week that it is scrapping plans to develop the South Pars gas field because it is too politically risky to invest in Iran.

Western governments have urged their companies to cut ties with Iran because of its controversial nuclear program. Western nations accuse Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program, a charge Tehran denies.