Iran calls for expert mediation in gas dispute with Turkey

Sep 18, 2002 02:00 AM

Iran's oil minister called for the intervention of independent experts to defuse a row over Turkey's suspension of Iranian gas, reports said.
"We support the need for an independent technical mission," Bijan Namdar-Zangeneh was quoted as saying in the latest response to Turkish claims that Iran's gas is not up to scratch.

Turkey's Energy Minister Zeki Cakan announced that imports of natural gas from Iran had been suspended as of June 24, and would only resume "once the composition of the gas is brought into line with the contract". But Zangeneh asserted that the dispute was of both a "technical and economic nature", reiterating accusations that the suspension was a result of Turkey's economic woes.
He also threatened to invoke contractual clauses related to the current dispute. He was quoted as saying Iran will claim damages if Turkey maintains its suspension. The gas pipeline, which runs from the north-western Iranian city of Tabriz to the Turkish capital Ankara, opened in December 2001.

The deal, signed in August 1996, has faced objections from the United States on the grounds that it rivalled a major project to carry natural gas from Turkmenistan to Western markets via Turkey.
Ankara maintains that it needs both projects to meet rapidly growing energy demands.

Source: The Tehran Times
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