Russia and Kazakhstan could also take part in the 970-mile Neka-Jask oil pipeline that will connect the Caspian port of Neka and Jask in the Sea of Oman to regional oil providers.

If permission is granted the $2bn project would transport about one million barrels of oil a day.

“Iran’s northern neighbours are willing to take part in the project but Kazakhstan and Russia are more likely to cooperate,” said Iranian Deputy Oil Minister Hossein Noqrekar-Shirazi.

Oil production from Kazakhstan is expected to increase in the next decade, as spending in its offshore Tengiz and Kashagan fields have risen.

Iran plans to invite bids to contractors for the pipeline in the near future, with the expectation of opening the project as early as 2012.