Iran sees an increase in oil demand in the second half of 2010 by between 1 and 1.4 million bpd which the major OPEC producer thinks will cause a rise in oil prices, Iranian media said on Saturday.

Based on projections, the global demand for oil in the second half of 2010 will increase on average by 1-1.4 million bpd, and this will push up oil prices, Iran's OPEC governor, Mohammad Ali Khatibi, was quoted as saying in daily paper Mardomsalari.

Oil investors are looking for signs of economic recovery and a potential rebound in energy demand. Oil prices have firmed gradually from lows of near $30 a barrel in December 2008 to the current range of between $70 and $85 a barrel.

Oil prices rose toward $80 a barrel on Friday as refinery strikes in France and tensions about Iran's nuclear program outweighed fears that U.S. monetary tightening could slow demand growth in the world's largest oil consumer.

(Reporting by Hashem Kalantari, writing by Andrew Hammond, editing by Nick Macfie)