Croatia’s INA has pulled out of a project to explore and develop the onshore Moghan-2 oil block in the northwest of Iran, according to Iranian news reports.

INA signed a deal worth $141m in April 2008 to partner National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) to develop the block in Ardebil province.

Iran’s state-owned Mehr news agency reported that INA withdrew from the project due to problems related to foreign currency exchange.

INA has become the latest in a string of international oil companies withdrawing from Iranian upstream projects as US-backed sanctions against Iran’s financial and energy sectors make it difficult to operate in the Islamic Republic.

Iran recently awarded several contracts to domestic oil services and construction groups to develop its offshore South Pars gas field, some international groups have withdrawn from deals signed before the introduction of sanctions.