Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Shamseddin Hosseini announced that the country has attracted some $4.3 billion in foreign investment during the past Iranian year (ended on March 19), adding that the figure shows a 140% increase compared with a year earlier. The minister said that Iran have established investment service centers in 31 provinces to attract foreign investment. As regards the volume of foreign investment during the last two months, Hosseini said that a total $2 billion in foreign investment was approved for 18 projects in the country since the beginning of the current year, showing a 120% rise compared with the same period last year. Iran enjoys high capacity for attracting foreign investment in its oil and gas industries. In April, Iranian First Vice-President Mohammad Reza Rahimi invited domestic and foreign capital holders to make investment in the country\'s oil and gas industries, and said Iran is among the most secure countries for investment in the energy sector. Iran, which sits on the world\'s second largest reserves of both oil and gas, is facing western sanctions over its civilian nuclear program. Iranian officials have dismissed US sanctions as inefficient, saying that they are finding Asian partners instead. A large number of Chinese, Indian and other Asian firms have negotiated or signed up to oil and gas deals with Iran.